The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Beats that blend best of East and West

He gave Bond his beat and A.R. Rahman his taal. Now, percussionist Pete Lockett — who has recorded for film soundtracks like Die Another Day, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Moulin Rouge, The Insider, City of Angels and The Quiet American – is coming to Calcutta to show off his far-reaching blend of world music.

Now, as part of a four-metro tour organised by the British Council, Lockett, who has also played with the likes of Robert Plant, A.R. Rahman (for Vande Mataram), Peter Gabriel and Björk, will hit Kala Mandir on April 2. Sharing the stage will be a Ghanaian percussionist-singer and a western contemporary classical percussionist for a “totally collaborative” effort with a violinist, female vocalist and bass guitarist from north Indian band Mrigaya and south Indian percussionist Selva Ganesh.

The preceding day, the teacher of The Royal Academy and Guildhall School of Music, London, will conduct a workshop with Bikram Ghosh, Tanmoy Bose, Sangeet Research Academy scholars and other musicians.

“There is a bit of everything. Not just east, west or Africa, but a Hindustani-Carnatic mix as well. I want it to reflect the dignity of all these musical forms not by having some inane electronic drum beat with the traditional music superimposed on it but by taking an organic approach,” writes Lockett from London.

“Un-hippie” is how he describes his take on India. Lockett, who will be visiting the country for the first time, discovered Indian music 12 years ago when he was kept awake by the sounds from an Indian Festival at Alexandra Palace.

He “followed” the music “wafting” through his window to a free concert featuring Zakir Hussain and Ali Akbar Khan.

“I couldn’t even see Zakir’s hands move and this phenomenal sound powered out,” he recalls. Six months later, he didn’t pass up an opportunity to learn the tabla. He has also studied the traditions of mridangam, kanjira, natuvangam and konnakol, as well as instruments from Japan, West Asia, Turkey, Ireland, Africa, Brazil and Cuba.

This artiste isn’t out to make a political statement through rhythm. “I didn’t feel that I’d found some deeper me. I don’t think the hippie thing did any good for Indian music. People’s love of it in the west is a lot more honest now,” adds Lockett, who formed the Network of Sparks, a world music collaboration that has been touring places like Sudan, Azerbaijan, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan and Palestine since 1998.

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