Album Review: Lokkhi Terra meets Dele Sosimi – Cubafrobeat [Funkiwala Records; June 2018]

The holy trinity of pleasure, music that serves mind, body and soul. Cubafrobeat simultaneously feeds them all. The new Lokkhi Terra and Dele Sosimi collaboration show off jazzy solos to power your intellect, but never detract from the chance to lose yourself to dance.

Brought together by pianist Kishon Khan, Lokkhi Terra are London’s most influential new-age world music collective. This orchestra celebrates Bangladeshi folk, afrobeat and Cuban rumba. For their latest recording, they have teamed up with Fela Kuti’s keys player Dele Sosimi who brings Nigerian groove into focus.

This album is likely to seduce both West African music fans and Afro-Cuban purists alike. The fusion between these two genres, both rooted in Yoruban style, is absolutely seamless. It could be confusing, but it’s not.

Stand out track “Afro Sambroso” is a heady but laid-back party number. Expect to sink deep in with the spirits, as the listening highlight of dexterous solos is performed by trumpeters Graeme Floweres and Yelfris Valdes and trombonist Justin Thurgur, hypnotising throughout. The devilishly hummable chorus keeps you hooked inbetween solos and as the horns surge, the tight percussion keeps you grounded to earth. Sosimi’s Rhodes funkiness joins the party in second number “Timbafro”, where he successfully indulges listeners with nostalgic and infectious chordal play.

The risk of both modern Afro-Cuban and Afrobeat music would be to borrow too much or to alienate dancing fans by straying too far from the status quo. Lokkhi Terra and Sosimi avoid these pitfalls and have produced one of the tastiest world music albums of 2018. The recording is short, with only four tracks, but Cubafrobeat definitely delivers on quality.

As the album comes to a close, you feel perfectly satisfied and plugged in. However, you cannot deny the reach of the sweaty hand of desire wanting more, more, more.