Words by Jane Cornwell
Lokki Terra have gone from strength to strength since their first gig in 2006 at a concert titled From Bangla-beat to Afro-beat at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Co-founded by the classically trained, jazz-minded British Asian pianist Kishon Khan – who has played with everyone from Havana Cultura to Hugh Masekela – this good-natured London-based collective are now widely acknowledged as an international force to be reckoned with. This wittily titled second album fulfils the promise Lokki Terra showed on their well-received debut No Visa Required.
Using the diverse Bangladeshi folk song repertoire as a base, they embrace a host of global influences. Afro-beat and Cuban rumba, jazz, funk and ska – Khan and a line-up that includes Cuban percussion maestro Oreste Noda, trombonist Justin Thurgur (of Bellowhead) and Bengali singers Sohini Alam, Aanon Siddiqua and Aneire Khan (along with the Cuban vocalist Javier Camilo) launch themselves on a musical journey. Khan has spent time in Cuba, and it shows: the clave’s accent is prevalent, and often picked out by European instruments. Grooves that might be Latin turn out to be Bangladeshi rhythms played on tabla and dhol by British Asian percussionist Pandit Dinesh. Musical traditions feed and guide each other: the stunning ‘Shokhi Kunjo Shajao’ begins with Indian flute unfurling wraith-like over Cuban Santéria-style chants, steady percussion and keyboard flourishes, before horns take it higher and sweet Bengali vocals take it higher still. This is beautiful, powerful, spectacular stuff.