Trilok Gurtu started playing tabla at the age of six, inspired by his grandfather, a sitar player, and his mother, a star singer of classical Indian music. Sixty years on, Trilok Gurtu is considered one of the most influential percussionists of his era. In the 1970s he began to be interested in jazz, combining it with the Indian rhythms of his childhood. His buring sense of rhythm later seduced John McLaughlin, who added him to his trio. Throughout his career, this percussionist has proven his capacity to cross genre borders, playing with Angélique Kidjo, Gilberto Gil, Bob Dylan, REM, and even Eric Clapton. Mentor at the Montreux Jazz Academy this year, Trilok Gurtu has also come to the Festival four times, most recently in 2011 for a duet with pianist Tigran Hamasyan.