On Monday 18th May at 7.00pm, Khiyo return to Alchemy with a stripped-down acoustic set in the Alchemy Unplugged Music Lounge. Formed in 2007 by British-Bangladeshi vocalist Sohini Alam and composer / multi-instrumentalist Oliver Weeks, the band take an experimental approach to Bengali heritage music, presenting folk and protest songs, the music of the great Bengali composers and more modern material in fresh, dynamic new arrangements that draw on Western classical music, jazz, folk and rock as much as they do traditional Bengali music.
Their radical approach to well-known songs can come as a shock to those who grew up with the originals and has not always been popular. In 2013, the band was at the centre of controversy in Bangladesh about the music video for their version of Rabindranath Tagore’s Amar Shonar Bangla, also the national anthem of Bangladesh. Against the backdrop of political turmoil caused by the verdicts on war criminals from Bangladesh’s 1971 War of Independence, Khiyo was accused of sedition for ‘distorting’ the anthem by one of the most well known musicians in Bangladesh, with the controversy flaring further as more of the biggest names in Bangladeshi music weighed in for and against the band’s version of the song, which went viral as a result. Despite the often furious nature of the debate, it had a positive effect on the band’s reputation, making them national news in Bangladesh and raising their profile in the UK and India.
Khiyo are steadily gaining a reputation as a powerful live band and are currently promoting their debut album, which was released by Arc Music in April 2015. Alchemy is pleased to welcome them back as part of our Unplugged Music Cafe Programme. For the full cafe programme see here.