Drums brought a ‘quantum of solace’ to Pete Locket

November 9th, 2008 - 9:54 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 9 (IANS) Multi-percussionist Pete Lockett, who is touring India to promote a collaborative rhythm album with Indian associate Bickram Ghosh, is on a roll. His latest piece of music - in the James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace” - has just been released.Lockett, voted the best percussionist in the world by the Rhythms magazine, had earlier worked on the soundtrack for several James Bond movies, including “Die Another Day”, “The World is Not Enough”, “Tomorrow Never Dies” and “Casino Royale”.

He has composed the solo percussion tracks for “Quantum of Solace”.

“It is challenging and exciting at the same time to work on the James Bond scores because the musical format for all his movies are the same, but the flavour and the tone of the music have to be different,” Lockett told IANS in an interview here.

The portly blonde drummer with intricate body tattoos showed off his skills on fibre drums, his latest innovation, darabukka (Persian hand drums) and wooden kick drums - to the sounds of Indian oral beats in the Carnatic tradition that he chanted on a microphone as he played.

“For ‘…Solace’, I mostly used big drums. It required a bit of electronic programming - big things sound different when played aloud. I was trying to search for a different flavour with the same rhythm references. It is difficult to innovate on big drums and fibre ensembles,” he said.

Post-Bond, Lockett is back in India making the kind of music he likes most - a fusion of south Indian rhythm, north Indian folk and international beats. His new venture, Kindgom of Rhythm, features instruments from all over the world.

“It is primal, folk and essentially Indian,” Lockett said. “I cannot think of any other music than Hindustani percussion traditions which I have studied for 20 years.”

The musician is now working with Delhi-based India Beats, a new independent record label, for his new album “Talisman”.

“It is a multi-ethnic album with plenty of jazz influences. Kolkata-based Amit Chatterjee features on the keyboards,” Lockett said.

Recounting his journey as a percussionist, Lockett said he started off as a drummer at 19. “I came across a live drum show in London and decided to learn to play drums. I stumbled upon Indian music in the (nineteen)eighties at a Festival of India concert featuring Ali Akbar Khan and Zakir Hussain. I was curious and wanted to know the musical legacies of the country.”

He booked tabla lessons through the Haringey Adult Education, which offered courses in Indian classical music.

“In 1986, I started learning mridangam and then the kanjira,” Lockett said.

His favourite musician is G. Harishankar, a kanjira prodigy, who died at the age of 44. “Hari Shankar was a genius,” said the musician, who grew up in a house at Portsmouth that had “no music”.

According to Lockett, India has one of the most evolved music traditions in the world. “The country has all kinds of sounds to bring out every primal rhythms in us. It is like mathematics. Indians invented it and the West stole it.”

Lockett, who has performed with almost all leading Carnatic musicians including Selvaganesh and Sivamani, is currently exploring new avenues. “I really want to get into Bollywood movies and would love to compose music for Hindi cinema. I will hang out in Bollywood for a couple of weeks to meet local musicians and can think of collaborations.”

Lockett has collaborated with pop-rock-soul vocalist Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, Pet Shop Boys, Sinnead O’ Connor and Amy Winehouse, to list a few, and has contributed to soundtracks of movies like “Moulin Rouge” and “City of Angels”.

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