"A Toral Stonking Blinder" **** All About Jazz
"A Fusion lover's dream " **** Songlines Magazine
Playlisted – Jazz FM
Funkiwala Records presents the third in the series of "Lokkhi Terra meets"albums, with the London fusionistas creating another unique sound-clash, this time with ex-Fela Kuti keyboardist and legendary UK Afro-beat ambassador Dele Sosimi, and members of his critically acclaimed Afro-beat Orchestra.
This particular collaboration has been bubbling away for a few years now, teasing audience expectations with a handful of sold out shows each year in between both bands busy schedules.
Featuring the two pianos of Kishon Khan and Dele Sosimi – Cuban percussionists/vocalists Geraldo De Armas (Yoruba Andabo), Oreste Noda (Ariwo), Javier Camilo (Ibrahim Ferrer) – a horn section led by Justin Thurgur (Bellowhead) featuring Yelfris Valdes (Sierra Maestra) and Graeme Flowers (Kyle Eastwood) to name a few – this is an All-star cast.
Kishon Khan's Lokkhi Terra have over a number of years now been quietly establishing themselves as one of London's more unusual heavyweight outfits, described as "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). Included amongst the band members are London's top Cuban musicians, adding their infectious rich musical history to the city's melting pot.
When the band wanted to explore Cuban links with another of their favourite traditions, Afrobeat, who better to bring in then one of the Afrobeat originators – maestro Dele Sosimi – "Sosimi creates some of the most bewitching grooves in modern African music" E Jazz News.
Bringing together two Yoruba speaking musics – with different accents, from different sides of the Atlantic – Havana meets Lagos in London – A Cuban-Afrobeat-Experience. CUBAFROBEAT.
All About Jazz 4star review
A younger version of London's Grand Union Orchestra, founded by world-jazz pioneer Tony Haynes in 1982, Lokkhi Terra was put together by keyboard player Kishon Khan in 2005. Both ensembles have made a specialism of jazz / South Asian fusion, with Lokkhi Terra also giving as much attention to music from Cuba, where Bangladeshi-born, London-based Khan lived for a while in the early 2000s.
Cubafrobeat, as the title foretells, is a blend of Cuban dance music and Nigerian / Yoruban Afrobeat—a fusion rendered seamless by the synergies existing between Afro-Cuban and Yoruban music, language and mythology. The album is Lokkhi Terra's third and partners the band with the keyboard player and vocalist Dele Sosimi .
A young-going-on-child-prodigy member of Fela Kuti's Egypt 80, Sosimi went on to become musical director of Femi Kuti's Positive Force, before relocating to London and setting up Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat Orchestra, the finest Afrobeat band outside Nigeria, bar none, now with a string of consistently engaging albums under its belt. Cubafrobeat features Sosimi as lead vocalist on all four tracks, and on Fender Rhodes on two of them. His singing plays a prominent role in the Afrobeat Orchestra, but, such is the whirlwind impact of the band in full instrumental flight, that Sosimi is often thought of first and foremost for his keyboard and arranging talents. That may change by the time 2018 is over. Cubafrobeat is the third album in as many months to feature Sosimi as guest vocalist, spotlighting the gravitas, air of mystery, intimacy and ferocity his voice can bring to an occasion.
The first of these albums was the genre-bending spiritual-jazz band Emanative's Earth (Jazzman). One of the stand-out tracks, "Ìyáàmi," features Sosimi making obeisance to the titular Mother Goddesses of the Yoruba spirit worlds. His raw and intense invocations carry the track for nine mesmerising minutes. Otherwordly is not the half of it. Next up was dub / reggae / jazz band Soothsayers' Tradition (Wah Wah 45s), which featured Sosimi as lead vocalist on the compelling "Sleepwalking (Black Man's Cry)." Earth and Tradition are both outstanding albums and have previously been reviewed here.
Cubafrobeat is a total stonking blinder, too. It is an effectively nuanced affair, opening with the fiery "Afro Sambroso" and closing with the relatively reflective "Rumbafro." Sosimi's vocals light up the music, as do the several solos from trumpeters Graeme Flowers and Yelfris Valdes Espinosa and trombonist Justin Thurgur (a member of both Lokkhi Terra and the Afrobeat Orchestra). Sosimi and Kishon Khan's intertwining Fender Rhodes solos on "Cubafro" are also a delight, as is the drum and percussion section throughout.
The sound of summer, for sure, Cubafrobeat has enough depth and variety to make it something for all seasons.
Songlines 4star review
Lokkhi Terra are one of London's most authentic groups. They are a Latin-flavoured collective whose keyboard player and bandleader Kishon Khan segues from percussive montunos to complex Bengali rhythms and back, with jazz chops sparking funky and outward-looking fusions. Their collaboration with Dele Sosimi, Britain's foremost Afrobeat ambassador, has been bubbling for a while; here four tracks at ten minutes see musical conversations that never lose their sense of flow. An extensive line-up of stellar players, including trumpeter Yelfris Valdés, conguero Oreste Noda and trombonist Justin Thurgur, highlights the genre-crossing potential of world traditions. Opener 'Afro Sambroso' showcases batá drums from Gerardo de Armas Sarria before the track links Cuban grooves with Afrobeat. 'Timbafro' crackles and sways via Khan's organ, Sosimi's vocals and Oscar Martinez's timbales. 'Cubafro' features dazzling interplay between Khan, Sosimi and Javier Camillo's Spanish-language vocals. 'Rumbafro' is all rumba choruses, Yoruba vocals and Afrobeat horns. Rooted in their sources, but with musical threads intertwining, separating and reconfiguring – with grooves at a premium – this is a fusion lover's dream