We might just have to change the saying, ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’, because for some, like English percussionist Pete Lockett, it is possible to be the master of everything they do. In the city for a gig, he possesses the skill to play, not one or two, but over 20 kinds of percussion instruments and remarkably, he wasn’t even born into a musical family.
All in one
“I started playing since I was 19; one day, I passed by an advertisement about drums lessons and enrolled myself for it. One has to find one’s vocation; one should connect to it and love doing it. I found all of that in percussions, so, it wasn’t hard making a career choice after that,” says Lockett, who has immersed himself in percussion and drums from every part of the globe, from Indian to Arabic and from Japanese to Latin.
The multi-percussionist can play tabla, mridangam, kanjira, ghatam, vocal percussion, dholak, naal, bhangra dhol, darabuka, req, bendir, frame-drums, congas, bongos, timbales, berimbau and Nigerian Udu among others. He also customises instruments and works extensively with electronics and samplers, both live and in the studio.
Lockett, who recently released an album, titled Made In Calcutta, in collaboration with Pandit Shankar Ghosh and is also working on another musical project with Airto Moreira (Brazilian Jazz drummer and percussionist) and some Indian musicians, explains that he has a “deep connect” with India, even though he first visited the country in the late 1990s.
The percussionist reveals that audiences can expect a performance soaked in varied cultures: “The show will have sounds from around the world. While I have travelled a lot, and have been exposed to rhythms from diverse places, living in London has also offered a multicultural influence,” says Lockett, adding that the city’s diverse cultures and its natural confluence helps him learn about varied musical traditions. “I imbibe these influences and create my own hybrid sound, and that’s what I’m going to bring forth at the gig,” he signs off.
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The India Connect
“I like India because everything is bright and energetic. There is colour and activity everywhere, which is a feast for the senses, especially for a foreigner. Plus the food is good, not bland. The layering of spices and complex flavouring is brilliant. At a deeper level, when I become more involved and influenced by India, I am fascinated by Indian rhythms such that once I get hooked, it’s difficult to get over it,” says Pete Lockett, not without mentioning that his wife is half-Indian and how he recently discovered that his grandmother was born in Chennai.