Khiyo: From Bangladesh to Britain

Sun 10 Mar, 3pm
Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall
From £22.50
past event
past event
5 people stand in a line looking out to the left against a grey background, with someone with long dark hair in the foreground.
Nasser Gazi

Innovative London-based band Khiyo gives Bengali heritage music a modern, fresh sound, with support from Shahbaz Hussain and Chahat Mahmood Ali Qawwal.

Khiyo’s repertoire is drawn from Bengali folk, film, protest songs and other traditional genres such as Nazrul and Rabindra Sangeet, with a sound that mixes folk and classical traditions from South Asia and the West with rock, blues and jazz.

They formed in 2007 as a collaboration between Sohini Alam, the British-Bangladeshi vocalist, and Oliver Weeks, a composer and multi-instrumentalist, to explore new ways of presenting traditional Bengali music while preserving its essence, and have since developed a reputation as a formidable live band, headlining many festivals around the UK and the world.

In 2012, a video Khiyo released on YouTube of its version of ‘Amar Shonar Bangla’ by the poet Rabindranath Tagore, Bangladesh’s national anthem, sparked controversy over its use of western instruments, seated musicians and vocal stylings, leading to an impassioned debate about the song’s place in the hearts of Bengalis in neighbouring West Bengal in India.

Shahbaz Hussain is one of Europe’s finest tabla players. First studying under his father, the vocalist Ustad Mumtaz Hussain, he went on to learn from various gurus including the Delhi gharana’s Ustad Faiyaz Khan, and the Punjab gharana’s Ustad Shaukat Hussain Khan and Ustad Allah Rakha. He has developed an eclectic and versatile style, leading the fusion group Indus as well as accompanying touring classical artists. Shahbaz is active as a tabla teacher across the north of England.

Chahat Mahmood Ali Qawwal is a young qawwali singer who made their UK debut in July 2023 and has performed at over 100 qawwali events. His father Mahmood Ali played the second harmonium with Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for 11 years and 9 years with Faiz Ali Faiz. The qawwali group has toured internationally with Faiz Ali Faiz and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

Presented by SAMA Arts

Dates & times

Sun 10 Mar, 3pm
Approximate run time: 2 hours.
Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


  • Standard entryFrom £22.50*
  • Concessions25%**

* Excludes £3.50 booking fee.

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Purcell Room

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An accessible toilet is located in the foyer.

A Changing Places toilet is located on Level 1 Royal Festival Hall next to the JCB Glass Lift, for the exclusive use of disabled people who need personal assistance to use the toilet.

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