Search

British-Bengali band Khiyo bring their eclectic sound to the East End

12:58 05 August 2014

Sohini Alam, vocalist for Khiyo

Sohini Alam, vocalist for Khiyo

Archant

An exciting young British-Bengali band who combine traditional Bangladeshi songs with modern arrangements will bring their extraordinary sound to the East End ahead of the launch of their debut album.

British-Bengali band Khiyo will bring their sound to the East End ahead of their album launchBritish-Bengali band Khiyo will bring their sound to the East End ahead of their album launch

The three core members of Khiyo - Sohini Alam on vocals, Oliver Weeks on guitar and piano, and Ben Hillard on bass - will perform songs from the album at Stepney Green Fair on Sunday (August 17), following their set at the National Theatre’s Outdoor Festival earlier this week.

Khiyo draw from a range of influences, from classical, rock, jazz, blues, Nazrul Sangeet, Bengali folk and Indian classical, to create a sound which is both familiar and exotic, rooted yet progressive.

As Sohini explains: “In Bangladeshi music there are all these amazing songs that people love, but the arrangement sometimes sounds so dated.

“Growing up I noticed a lot of my friends didn’t listen to that kind of music. We’d think of these songs as the kind of stuff our parents would listen to.

Oliver Weeks, guitar and piano for KhiyoOliver Weeks, guitar and piano for Khiyo

“But as soon as we make it in a way second generation Bangaldeshis can relate to, it works.”

Sohini met Oliver in 2007 when she “depped”, or was understudy, for the Bengali singer Moushumi Bhowmik, who Oliver was working with in the band Parapar, and they later met up to jam and brought in Oliver’s friend Ben on bass, who he knew from their Cambridge days.

“I met him and started doing some music and we really enjoyed it,” Sohini recalled.

Khiyo’s eclectic first album marries a grungy rhythm-section and dreamy acoustic guitars to classic Bangladeshi melodies in a way that feels natural and fresh.

Khiyo perform traditional Bangladeshi songs with modern msuical arrangementsKhiyo perform traditional Bangladeshi songs with modern msuical arrangements

But to people who have grown up with these songs, the arrangements can be quite a shock.

Khiyo’s rendition of the Bangladesh national anthem, Amar Shonar Bangla, caused a stir in Bangladesh in 2012 after it went “viral” online, with one famous musician accusing the band of sedition for “distorting” the lyrics of national poet Rabindranath Tagore, and others coming to the band’s defence.

“These are all very popular songs for Bangladeshis but they’re not presented in a traditional way,” said Sohini.

“I haven’t messed around much with the melodies, but when people hear the arrangement, they say, ‘holy crap, I can’t believe that’s the same song!’ More often than not they love it.”

The album will be launched at the Forge in Camden on August 28, and is likely to surprise people who have only heard a song or two online.

“There’s all different kinds of sounds on the album,” said Sohini. “If people are expecting it all to be acoustic and mellow, they will get a bit of a surprise.

“We’re all quite influenced by bands like Led Zeppelin and Radiohead.

“Someone said it sounds a bit like a classic rock album, and Olly joked, ‘yeah, but without a sitar!’”

Sohini says the band are looking forward to playing in the East End where there is a large Bangladeshi population.

“The way I see it London is a great place to do this sort of thing,” she said. “There’s so many people from so many places.

“I really like performing in east London, because for Bangladeshis it’s something they know but something that’s not, in a way.

“It’s really nice to take that to Bangladeshis, especially young Bangladeshis who say they’ve not really listened to Bangladeshi music.

“A mother came up to me and said her daughter had never been able to relate to Bangadeshi culture, but she went to our show and really liked it.”

Khiyo are performing at Stepney Green Fair on August 10 at 6pm, where entry is free.

For more information visit Khiyo.com.

Read more:

Pictures: Secret Cinema’s Back To The Future film experience gets underway

MPs back Canary Wharf telecoms firm in Bangladesh legal battle

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Newham Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Newham Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Newham Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Newham News Stories

14:00
April Skies author Ian Ayris

Ian Ayris is not your average writer.

Tesco
10:59
From Monday, fly-tipping is to be penalised with a £400 fine.

Fly-tippers are to be slammed with a £400 fine in a council crackdown on grime crime.

Newham Council
Muslims from across Newham have donated thousands to local health providers Picture: Barts NHS Trust

Muslims from Newham have donated £2,500 to a health trust in a move to support services and reach out to the wider community.

Newham University Hospital
08:37
Two fire engines attended a house fire in Holborn Road, Plaistow, last night. Picture: PA

Firefighters were called to a house fire in Plaistow last night.

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe