Funkiwala Records presents CUBANGLA – the sixth album by London fusionistas LoKkhi TeRra.
Following on from their hugely successful collaboration with UK afro-beat ambassador Dele Sosimi on 2018's "Cubafrobeat"(mixing afrobeat and Cuban Rumba/Timba), this album sees them return to their Bangla-Afro- Latin-Jazz-Roots.
8 tracks of 21st century London groove – from Sufi Samba to Baul Blues to Bengali folk-Son to Bangla Roots Reggae to London Descargas – recorded in between tours, sessions and collaborations – a true celebration of traditions taking on new forms as they travel and co-exist. In these divided times, their collective musical journey has never been so relevant.
Kishon Khan's Lokkhi Terra have been blending the musical traditions that surround them in London, for many years now.
"Stunning Headliners… A majestic multi-cultural blend of sounds… effortlessly builds bridges between rolling Indian raga rhythms, Afro-Cuban grooves, Acid Jazz/funk and free flowing improvisation" (Timeout London).
The band is composed of musicians who take seriously the different languages of the different genres they mix. Each in their own right play with calibre purist outfits. Members have collaborated with the likes of Hugh Masekela, Tony Allen, Ibrahim Ferrer, Johnny Clarke, Orlando Poleo, Africa Express, Jazz Jamaica, Ska Cubano, Giles Peterson's Havana Cultura, Kyle Eastwood, Bellowhead, Akram Khan to name a very few.
The tracks on this album were gigged for a number of years before being recorded, with the exception of the last 2 tracks which were recorded in 2015 just before performing at Womad and Songlines Encounters.
With CUBANGLA the band has come round full circle – a journey that started a decade ago with their debut No Visa Required (2010). An urban London view on the musical world.
"Acclaimed groovesters Lokkhi Terra continue their creative roll, returning to their Bangla-Afro-Latin-Jazz roots after a wildly successful colaboration with Afrobeat keyboardist Dele Sosimi. Featuring a who's who of London based players from, variously, Bangladesh, Brasil, Cuba, Spain and Nepal, Cubangla offers more sparkling genre crossing. Its eight tracks veer from fresh takes on traditional Bengali folk tunes to unlikely but sophisticated pairing including Baul blues, Sufi Samba and Cubangla funk. Keys player and main man Kishon Khan – here on piano, Fender Rhodes, microKORG and (on root-reggae remake "Bhandari Revisited") wah-wah harmonium – has written and/or arranged a clutch of tunes that respect tradition while forging new pathways. "Badaam"jumps off the Cuban standard "El Manisero" into a suhg conversatio between Cuban sonero Javier Camilo and Bangladeshi songbirds Sohini Alam and Aanon Siddiqua.
The albums title-track is a glorious descarga jam riffing on themes Cuban and Bengali, stoked by piano, percussion, trumpet and Jalal Ahmed's snaking Bansuri (flute). An upbeat variation on a legendary Sufi song, "Lal Mere" finds Alam and Siddiqua in powerful form and Khan deploying a fiery Rhodes solo. Originally performed at a Songlines Encounters festival, "Kon Kole Revisited" features the rough-hewn voice of the late Baul musician Rob Fakir, his lyrics celebrating Bengali philosopher Lalon and his attitude of religious tolerance. Deep, laced with joy and a masterly lightness of touch, Cubangla rewards repeated listening"
John Armstrong review
Despite Latin and Afro-Cuban music's longstanding popularity in the UK, there have been relatively few UK based artists who have pushed the limits of convention, adding novel elements whilst remaining (more or less) 'en clave' . Alex Wilson is one, and another is the formidably talented pianist, keyboardist, arranger and producer Kishon Khan with his band Lokkhi Terra. Kishon can play straight afrobeat, timba and Afro-Cuban descarga with the best, but his musical curiosity leads him in other directions, too- most specifically, to Bangladeshi music. To these ears, Lokkhi Terra's third (fourth?) outing, CUBANGLA, is their crowning glory to date. Lazy reviewers will call this a 'fusion' album: i don't know about you, but I find the term 'fusion' as meaningless as the term 'world music': all modern music is a fusion of something or other. This is Afro-Cubano-Bangladeshi music, please don't call it 'fusion'.
Khan's real arranging achievements here can be heard immediately in one of the shortest tracks, 'Bhromor' – described as a 'son cubangla'. The melancholy traditional Bangla song is subjected to the strict conventions of the Eastern Cuban son format, but nevertheless finds space and time for the strong improvisational elements in Bangla singing, a space that the singer Aneira Khan fills to perfection. The rest of the album is equally arresting, with a couple of instrumental descargas and more of that beautiful Bangla melody and vocal impro rising above the Afro-Cuban bedrock. Almost thirty musicians and singers…studios in London, Dhaka, Brooklyn..this must have been a helluva logistical feat (well done Kishon!), as well as being one of the outstanding albums of the year so far for me."
London-based collective Lokkhi Terra have been blending sounds from around the globe since 2010. They describe their music as Bangla-Afro-Latin-Jazz, but even that doesn't do justice to the range of traditions that find their way onto Cubangla, which weaves in everything from funk grooves and Afrobeat hornlines to bluesy guitar and the music of the Bauls, a group of musician-mystics from Bengal. Lots of bands mix African and Latin sounds with jazz and it's these Indian influences that really set Lokkhi Terra apart. Among the highlights is ‘Bhromor’, a traditional Bengali song about the love between Radha and Krishna that drifts over lilting Cuban guitar, fluttering tabla and delicate flutes. ‘Lal Mere’ sets a traditional Sufi song to breezy samba percussion and ‘Badaam’ has an easy-going reggae feel with both Spanish and Bengali vocals. Remarkably, the blend of styles always sounds natural, never forced or cluttered, which is testament to the ingenuity of the arrangements and the standard of the playing. Flautist Finn Peters and trumpeter Graeme Flowers are on particularly good form.
John Warr Review (AfroBase)
"Tracks like Como with its Cachao phrasing, hats off to Graeme Flowers and Justin Thurgur for some stunning solos, the Spanish/Bangla tinges, not forgetting your inspiring piano work and arrangements. Love the percussion throughout and especially on Cubangla, the beautiful Banzuri flute solos from Jalal Ahmed, the joyous vocals on Kalare, and not forgetting the very radio friendly Bandari although I really want to play Como!
This album is a true high point in the work of Lokkhi Terra and its worldly mix of influences. I hope I get to see the band play this live whenever that is."