Drumsticks and dreams

As part of this year’s Drum Day celebrations, English musician Pete Lockett will show Mumbai a thing or two about percussion

For Pete Lockett, switching from one kind of drum to another comes naturally. One moment, you see him play the tabla and the next, he moves to a darbouka, followed by bongos, mridangam, ghatam and even the Western drum kit. The mental and technical adaptation is seamless. “I don't notice I am switching at all,” says the percussionist. “It's all my family. It's exciting to see how they interact with, influence and feed each other.”

Stellar line-up

The city’s music aficionados will get to witness Lockett’s skills as part of his performance for Mumbai Drum Day 2017. The show has been curated by city-based drummer Gino Banks and features a line-up of musicians: Kurt Peters and Lydian Nadhaswaram, percussionist Swarupa Ananth, guitarist Rhythm Shaw and bassist Sonu Sangameswaran. The collaboration between Banks and Lockett has been a long time coming. “We’ve planned a few recording projects in the near future; either as a duo or with special guests,” Banks reveals.

‘Hand of fate’

Raised in Portsmouth, Hampshire in the United Kingdom, Lockett took to drumming rather late, at the age of 19. “I was the trusted hand of fate. I was passing by a drum shop and noticed a sign,” he recalls. “Two weeks later, I was in a band. Six months later, I moved to London with no money or contacts. All I had were my dreams and drumsticks.”

Lockett's first exposure to Indian music came at a concert by sarod legend Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and tabla maestro Ustad Zakir Hussain, which he describes as a life-changing experience. Soon, he began taking lessons from tabla maestro Yousuf Ali Khan and mridangam genius Karaikudi Krishnamurthy, understanding the rudiments of both Hindustani and Carnatic percussion. “I took six years out and practised all day. I am a rhythmic hermit,” says Lockett. “Indian music is so deep I feel like a total beginner.”

The English drummer’s first hero was drummer Keith Moon of The Who, followed by the punk-rock drummers of the 1970s. But his love for the art made him pick up percussion instruments from various parts of the world. And learning them all has been a memorable journey.

Free online lessons

“It is a gradual process,” says Lockett. “You have to really focus on [getting] inside the music, formalities and tradition. Only then can you present each one with its integrity.” And to give back what he has learnt, Lockett gives free online lessons. “The little I know, I like to share. We can only be the messengers and not the message itself,” he says.

His future projects include recording music with tabla exponent Fazal Qureshi and an album with percussion legend Luis Conte, as well as a collaboration with drummer Michael Shrieve. “Next stop should be Bollywood,” he enthusiastically adds. “I want to plaster a Mumbai movie with Lockett percussion.”

Tomorrow’s show will see Lockett play a mixture of a hybrid drum kit and percussion. “It is important for Indian musicians learning Western music to know that Indian classical music is envied the world over.”

The sooner we all start believing that, the better.

Mumbai Drum Day 2017 on February 23 at 7.30 p.m at St. Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra. See bookmyshow for more details.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 7:19:58 AM |

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