Brown Indian Band regales audience at Koktebel Jazz Party

September 21, 2014

The Brown Indian Band, led by Goa-based bass player Colin D’Cruz, struck up on the Open Stage in Koktebel, on Sunday afternoon, to an appreciative audience sitting on the sands, many in their bathing suits.

With the sights and sounds of the Black Sea in the background, a young woman, her long blond hair still damp from her swim earlier in the day, danced to the music all through the hour-long performance, as the crowd swelled. But clearly the music made its appeal across generations: 69-year-old Olga Zinoviev, a patron of the arts and widow of the well-known Russian philosopher and writer Alexander Zinoviev, who is in the audience, says, “It was like a meditation.”

The Brown Indian Band, formed in 1994, is the only Indian band invited to the Koktebel Jazz Party and, perhaps, one of the few groups performing here that does not have a member of Russian-origin, or from a former Soviet Republic.

It was initially invited to perform on the Main Stage, but it chose not to do so as the timeslot given to it was within an hour of reaching Koktebel: “We were so tired after a 30-hour-long journey that we could not have given our best,” Mr. D’Cruz said, “so we opted for the next day.”

The band features accomplished Indian classical musicians in concert with jazz virtuosos, who live in different parts of India — Goa, Mumbai, Darjeeling and Bangalore — most of the year but come together for concerts: its biggest event to date is when it played at the opening of the first International Film Festival in Goa in 2003.

“Indian classical music can be compared to jazz as both are forms of improvised music. Indian classical music is linear and uses just one scale (raga) to improvise within a composition whereas jazz has a much broader palette for improvisation where multiple scales can be used to improvise through harmonic changes,” Mr. D’Cruz explains after the performance, adding, “Indian classical music, however, has some of the world’s most complex rhythm structures and subtle quarter tones that add an exciting new dimension to jazz.”

The Brown Indian Band, Mr. D’Cruz said, uses the best of both forms of improvisation to create India’s contribution to world music. At Koktebel, the group performed its own original compositions, with just one formal rehearsal before the event.

The band members are an interesting mix: the lead classical vocalist Shubhangi Joshi (who did a short stint at The Hindu many years ago) has a Bollywood band of her own and is a part-time model; flautist Dhiraj Kapadia has performed with Hari Prasad Chaurasia and has been associated with the Hindi film industry for many years; Tony Dias, who played the keyboards is also a piano teacher in Mumbai. “Each of us, “says Mr Dias, “do a variety of things as making a living as a musician is not that easy.”

By Smita Gupta

Brown Indians at Koktebel Jazz Festival

September 4, 2014

The Koktebel International Jazz Festival held in Ukraine every year since 2003 has grown into a world renowned annual jazz event.

Some of the biggest names in jazz like Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Courtney Pine and Deborah Brown to name a few, have been featured at this festival that draws jazz enthusiasts from all over the world to a picturesque venue along the Black Sea Coast. For the first time since its inception, an Indian band has been invited to perform at the 2014 edition from the 12th to the 15th of September.

Officials of he Embassy of the Russian Federation in India chanced upon the Brown Indian Band’s website on the internet and immediately decided this was the band most suited to represent India at their international jazz festival. They got in touch with Goa based Colin D’Cruz who had formed the band with floating personnel way back in 1994. Over the years the band featured some of the most accomplished Indian Classical musicians both Carnatic and Hindustani, along with local as well as international jazz virtuosos.

In fact, the band performed as a fourteen member ensemble at the first IFFI held in Goa in the year 2003 and that concert at the Kala Academy has remained etched in the memories of many who witnessed it.

The ensemble lined up for Russia includes Shubhangi Joshi on Hindustani classical vocals, Dhiraj Kapadia on Bansuri, Prashant Saxena on santoor and Jayesh Dhargalkar on tabla representing the Indian Classical department, with Benoy Rai on guitar, Joaquim Dias on keyboards, Karthik Subramanya on drums and Colin D’Cruz on bass taking care of the jazz department.

The band will perform only original indo-jazz fusion tracks composed by Colin with spontaneous on stage contributions from a line up of absolute virtuosos each one a master of his/her chosen instrument.

http://www.brownindianband.com

Jazz Goa celebrates international jazz day!

May 19, 2014

Jazz Goa in association with Houses of Goa participated in a global celebration of jazz, the only form of music that embraces all other forms of music and as the stage banner said ‘It’s not just about improvisation, it’s about a meeting of minds and cultures’. The array of artistes from across India, around the world and Goa of course, did just that in spectacular three hour concert. The opening act ‘Ultra Brass Sound’ led by French horn player Rui Lobo set the tone for the concert with a classically tinged jazz tune. Bim Bam project from Germany featuring Ping Pong and La Coco then took the stage in a vocal/percussion spontaneous jam that got the audience grooving all the way. Then came Goa’s music ambassador Zezinho Fernandes with Latin Connection who gave the concert a Goan flavour with some foot tapping latin-jazz. along the same vein ‘twin’ flautist Neville D’Souza brought the house down with his original composition ‘Pedrucho Kombo’ played to perfection on two flutes at the same time. The show was now well into it’s elements with show host Raymond Albuquerque keeping the crowd riveted to the stage. He announced Goa’s amazing drummer girl Anastazia Dmello who took the stage with pianist Jason Quadros and bassist Colin D’Cruz to simply blow the crowd away with a slamming drum solo. Veteran jazz vocalist Susan Rocha then delivered a beautiful rendition of Moon Dance with Jason and Colin staying back onstage to back her with Bosco D’Souza on drums. Next came Bangalore’s indo-jazz fusion outfit ‘Moon Arra’ featuring some of the most accomplished Indian classical musicians that included vocalist Chaitra Sontakke, Mohan Veena player Pandit Prakash Sontakke and fusion drummer Kartik Mani with Madhuri and Jagdeesh Mudambi doing the jazz honours on vocals and guitar. They were joined by Goa’s star percussionist Carlos Gonsalves with Colin D’Cruz filling in the bass player’s seat to complete the band. Moon Arra created some of the most amazing sounds of indo-jazz fusion that enthralled the audience. Then it was time for Goa’s latin-jazz-funk-blues band ‘Smoking Chuntey’ to nail it as the final act and they did it in style. Chrystal Farrell has to be one of India’s most promising singers quite capable of taking on the international arena, she has the stage presence to match her fabulous voice and with Smoking Chutney featuring some of India’s best musicians, Chrystal gets the perfect platform to do her thing. Bassist Colin announced Chrystal’s chart topping single ‘Chrystal’s Song’ that was number one on the international jazz vocal charts. The band went ahead with the first public performance of ‘Chrystal’s Song’ that drew thunderous applause. The band then invited all the artistes who performed earlier for an open jam session to bring the curtains down on a great concert at one of Goa’s most spectacular venues, the Amphitheatre Houses of Goa built by renowned architect Gerard da Cunha.

Jazz Goa sets a world record!

March 31, 2014

Jazz Goa came up with a great idea about a year ago, inviting jazz musicians from all over the world to contribute their solos to a jazz standard called ‘Straight No Chaser’. The idea caught on via the internet and Jazz Goa has been flooded with contributions from jazz virtuosos from all over the world. The track so far features seventeen soloists, a world record for any jazz standard recorded so far, and it is continuously updated with new soloists being added almost every week. Jazz Goa’s Global recording project literally brings the world together in one phenomenal track. So far the recording features jazz virtuosos from America, Colombia, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, England, Portugal and Goa of course. The track has generated huge interest among jazz communities around the world and Jazz Goa now has to carefully curate contributions so that only the best make it to the mix. The project so far, can be reviewed at http://www.jazzgoa.comImage

Jazz Goa sets a world record!

March 31, 2014

Jazz Goa came up with a great idea about a year ago, inviting jazz musicians from all over the world to contribute their solos to a jazz standard called ‘Straight No Chaser’. The idea caught on via the internet and Jazz Goa has been flooded with contributions from jazz virtuosos from all over the world. The track so far features seventeen soloists, a world record for any jazz standard recorded so far, and it is continuously updated with new soloists being added almost every week. Jazz Goa’s Global recording project literally brings the world together in one phenomenal track. So far the recording features jazz virtuosos from America, Colombia, France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Switzerland, England, Portugal and Goa of course. The track has generated huge interest among jazz communities around the world and Jazz Goa now has to carefully curate contributions so that only the best make it to the mix. The project so far, can be reviewed at http://www.jazzgoa.com

Jazz from Goa, India

October 14, 2013

colin10

International Jazz Day – 30/4/2013

May 3, 2013

Originally posted on GOA NO LIMITS ®:

Panjim has raised last night all the colors of jazz: latin, pop, African, free … to the delight of the numerous audience who came to applaud the 50 musicians who all played for free. Some came from afar to pay tribute to Jazz. Colin D’Cruz who organized the evening was everywhere on stage and backstage.

Talented musicians have succeeded each other on the stage :  “The Ultra Brass Quartet “, led by Rui Lobo, Chico Fonseca-singer/goa’s veteran, Zezinho Fernandes, goa’s music ambassador, Desmond and Barry duo from Mumbai, Varun Carvahlo, singer, Quentine, singer, Natalie Matos, singer from UK, “Moon Arra”, duo featuring Madhuri and Jagadeesh from Bangalore, Chritian Marwitz, percussionist from Germany, “Jazz Junction” featuring Susan Rocha, vocals, Benoy Rai, guitar, Jason Quadros, keyboards, Colin D’Cruz, bass and Lester Godinho, drums with guest singer Shaista Thapar, saxophonist Simon Hewitt from Australia and trumpet player Johnny Fernandes, Carlos Gonsalves-percussionist, “Smoking Chutney”…

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Indigo Goa Grooves

November 6, 2012

I turned music producer after close to four decades of live performance. Five star hotel residencies, local concerts, international tours and just about every genre of music contributed to my continuously updated music vocabulary. Turning music producer was the most natural development in my career. Producing other artiste’s music gives me greater joy than producing my own. I set up a recording studio in Goa and went about doing just that and in a span of two years I have produced over seventy originals, many of which topped international internet charts. The world was ready for original western music from India but India wasn’t. Right through my career I only encountered record labels who knew exactly what every Indian wanted and that was songs to be sung in Hindi. It was just about the same with radio stations. Granted, we live in a country ruled by bollywood and Hindi is a major language. English speaking people in India may be a minority but then again when we talk even a tiny percentage of India, we are talking the population of an entire European country. Indigo 91.9 FM is probably the only radio station in the country to see this perspective and took on the might of bollywood by broadcasting only international music in India. The station launched in Bangalore and then in Goa and quickly grew into the favorite channel for those of us who enjoyed western music. All other radio stations fell prey to bollywood, loosing their identity with all of them sounding the same. Indigo 91.9 FM stands out as the only radio station catering to western music lovers in India. Most of the songs I have been producing has been in English and Indigo 91.9 was my only hope to have my music broadcast locally. It took me a long time to convince the heads that western music being produced in India easily matches and in many cases even outclasses international releases. I had documented my tracks that topped thousands of worldwide entries on internet charts and this finally convinced them to give my music a shot. The 26th of August 2012 will go down as a historical day for local talent in Goa when ‘Indigo Goa Grooves’ went on air in a one year long weekly broadcast. In just three months the slickly produced two hour broadcast, showcasing only local talent, grew into the most popular show on air in Goa prompting the station to take the show on the road through a series of live performances around Goa called Indigo Goa Grooves-live in concert! If you are in Goa on a Sunday tune in to Indigo 91.9 FM’s Indigo Goa Grooves at 5pm.
Colin D’Cruz
http://www.jazzyatra.com

Live music in Goa

May 22, 2012

Goa is and will always be the live music hub of India and hopefully the world someday. The tourist season between October and March every year, turns Goa into a global village with people from all over the world making themselves at home with the Goan way of life. Nowhere else in India would you find hundreds, maybe thousands of live music venues with almost every second restaurant and lounge bar in Goa featuring live music in some form or the other. Mumbai, the supposedly most happening city in India and all other metro cities for that matter, have only a handful of live music venues in comparison, one of the reasons why I decided to move out of Mumbai and setup home and studio in Goa where I belong. In Mumbai I used to tour worldwide with bollywood icons like Asha Bhosle and Sonu Nigam performing for people from all over the world. After moving to Goa I still perform for people from all over the world by just going out and playing at a restaurant in my neighbourhood. The recently renovated Jardim Garcia da Orta in Panjim was brought back to life with a series of concerts at the park’s grand bandstand, an initiative by an organization I set up in Goa called Jazz Goa. My studio in Sangolda has been recording some of Goa’s most amazing music talent along with accomplished international visiting virtuosos, to produce some world class music that often tops the international internet charts.
On the flipside I have noticed the term ‘live music’ deteriorating over the years thanks to machines and one man bands. A one man band is nothing but a singer singing against pre recorded music and should be called a ‘solo singer’ and definitely not a ‘one man band’ or even worse as some venues advertise ‘live music by one man band’. Both the venue and the artiste realize that a one man band is nothing but a compromise on real live music due to budget and sometimes space constraints. A place that spells class, like the Marriott’s AZ UR lounge bar has my jazz band Jazz Junction playing live music every Friday night. A place like Poco Loco in Baga would compromise with a duo singing along with canned music. Even more scary than the one man band is the ‘no man band’ where buttons are pressed to play CD’s and passed off as live music. But then again, to each their own. If people enjoy listening to live music performed by a CD player so be it. I have spent close to forty years honing my skill on a musical instrument called a bass guitar and I will continue playing music on a musical intstrument!
By Colin D’Cruz
Watch live music videoclips from Goa: http://www.youtube.com/user/jazzgoa

Jazz Goa celebrates International jazz day!

May 9, 2012

UNESCO recently declared the 30th of April as International jazz day,
encouraging worldwide participation on and around the 30th of April every year.
Jazz Goa celebrated it in style on the 1st of May in a second edition of
‘Concert in the park’ at the beautifully renovated Jardim Garcia da Orta in
Panjim. The crowd turnout was nothing short of phenomenal with all seating
arrangement filling in even before kick off time at 6pm. The rest of the huge
gathering filed in around 7pm and were happy to stand through some rivetting
performances that simply took thier breath away. The concert had celebrity show
host Raymond Alburqueque at the helm introducing every act with his usual flair
to give the show a classy edge. The Panjim Open Philharmonic made up of amateur
and professional musicians took the stage on the dot of six and went through
their repertoire with finnese guided by founding member Rui Lobo.
Then came Raymonds announcement of Jazz Goa’s official participation in the
International jazz day inviting Jazz Junction to take the stage with Yvonne
Gonsalves on vocals, Joshua Costa on keyboards, Colin D’Cruz on fretless bass
and Lester Godinho on drums. The quartet simply blew the crowd away at the
outset itself opening with a swinging original called ‘Jazz Goa Blues’ followed
by their own versions of jazz standards like ‘Triste’ and ‘You don’t know what
love is’ including contemporory jazz tunes like’ and ‘Any place I hang my hat
is home’. They then invited Canadian jazz singer Stefano Rocchetti to jam on
‘Georgia’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’. Stefano is a showman extraordinaire, the crowd
just could not get enough of him, he left the stage promising to be back after
a beer. Jazz Junction wound up their set with a tune aptly titled ‘That’s all’.
UK guitarist Chris Jolly and singer Zezinho Fernandes then filled in with a
couple of mellow tunes while Goa’s hot new act ‘Smoking Chutney’ prepared to blowthe jam packed park away in a sizzling hour long set. Smoking Chutney featured Benoy Rai on guitar and vocals, Colin D’Cruz on bass and Dennis Coelho on drums with Goa’s ace percussionist Carlos Gonsalves jamming in as a guest along with UK singer Jan Graveson. The band opened with a smoking rendition of John Scofield’s ‘Do Like Eddie’ that had Benoy’s fiery guitar solos sitting on Dennis and Colin’s
tight drum and bass grooves. Then came the tune ‘Tightrope’ this time
showcasing Benoy’s vocal talent as well. Another smoking blues called ‘Red
House’ and it was time for Jan Graveson to join Smoking Chutney to pump up the
already adrenalized band. Jan showed the audience what ‘showtime’ is all about
with high energy renditions of the Police’s ‘Message in a bottle’ and the
Beatle’s ‘Come together’. Jan’s was a tough act to follow but showman Steffano
took it in his stride taking the stage again with an absolutely amazing renditionof ‘Hoochie Coochie man’. It was now way past closing time but the crowd stayed rivetted demanding an encore that turned out to be the ultimate show stopper – an original tune titled ‘Smoking Chutney’ by the closing act ‘Smoking Chutney’. The show ended with Raymond promising many more concerts in the park. Those who miss out on Jazz Goa concerts can log on to http://www.youtube.com/user/jazzgoa to view videoclips of the action in Goa.


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