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.

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

Jazz from Goa, India

October 14, 2013


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”…

View original 555 more words

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

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:

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 to view videoclips of the action in Goa.

Jazzing it up!

September 2, 2011

Jazzing it up
By Pamela D’Mello
Tucked away on the first floor of a nondescript apartment block,
surrounded by lush green paddy fields is the unlikely venue for Jazz
Goa’s recording studio. Nothing much to look at, until —
musician/producer Colin D’Cruz plays recordings of some of the new
talent he has discovered and your mood gets thoughtful. Coming out of
the speakers are songs and voices and instrumentation that could match
any of the new talent emerging out of the unknown worldwide.

There’s twenties something Neil Gomes, a multi instrument player, who
plays saxophone and guitar with equal ease, and a good voice to go
with it. “Neil’s song Perhaps, uploaded onto Soundclick, one of the
internet sites for new talent, climbed to number one on the site among
hundreds of songs uploaded there”, says D’Cruz. Now based in Mumbai,
the young musician is active in the live and recorded music industry
of that city.

Nor is Gomes the only young artiste to find his place in Jazz Goa’s
talent search. Twenty seven other singers and musicians have recorded
original jazz tracts on the Jazz Goa CD. There’s professional singer
Danielle Rebello, whose voice uploaded on the internet got her an
offer to record in Spain. Colin sees promise in many of his young

For nine months in 2010 Colin put his love for jazz and building
talent by producing and running the Jazz Goa, slot on FM Rainbow in
Goa. “I showcased purely local talent on the show which ran from
10-10.30 pm every Monday, just to prove to station managers that local
talent can produce good music if encouraged”. Most station managers
blindly plug for Bollywood and international artistes, is his

Colin’s song Smoking Chutney was nominated for the 2010 IMA awards in
the world fusion category, with the song picked out for the guitar
solo performance by guitarist Elvis Lobo.

While new talent is slowly finding its space via the internet, it is
Goa’s small but vibrant live jazz music scene that has been creating a
buzz for several years now.

The Saturday Nite Market in Arpora, North Goa, has emerged as one of
the prime venues for jazz and experimental music. While the bazaar —
originally designed by a German settler Ingo Grill — runs as a well
organised sprawling market of stalls, offering wares from shell
earrings to leather boots, to Indian handicrafts — the heart of the
market is its live stage, just off a buzzing food court.

Here, in high season, when the open air market attracts an eclectic
crowd of foreign and discerning Indian tourists, western settlers and
leftover hippies — the ground level stage becomes the setting for a
series of live acts each Saturday. So while fire eaters and African
dancers do their spot acts under starry night skies, there’s a real
cooler vibe when the musicians get on stage. “I’ve heard some of the
best music play at the Saturday nite market. Musicians from all over
the world, passing through, will just land up, contact the organisers,
and offer to play just for the joy of playing to an appreciative
chilled out global audience and that strangely produces some of the
most inspired music, out of the mainstream, and totally mind blowing”,
says hotelier Francis de Braganca.

Local jazz musicians love playing at the market, because the audience
that gathers around the stage is genuinely appreciative and the
ambiance is every musicians’ dream. “It’s a scene that I doubt happens
anywhere else in the world” adds Braganca.Two kilometres away,
Mackey’s nite market, also on Saturdays in the tourist season, runs
similar gigs that offers a stage for jazz and other musicians.

Another favourite jazz concert venue that’s heating up the scene is
Goa Chitra’s small amphitheatre in coastal Benaulim in south Goa.
Every week from October to March, the organic farm cum ethnographic
museum, hosts a jazz/fusion/experimental group for a small intimate
audience of around 200. “We keep it small, but musicians especially
love the intimacy of the place” says Victor Hugo Gomes, proprietor and

Last year, Goa Chitra had John Law’s Art of Sound Trio play in Goa,
just after their return from the North Sea Jazz Festival, in
Rotterdam. In November this year, Blues’ diva Danna Gillespie is
signed on for a fund-raiser concert. This year on, artistes will be
encouraged to give small workshops as well.

There’s a limited following for jazz, and the workshops are meant to
raise the bar on appreciation and allow young musicians to benefit
from the exposure.

As an event organiser, Gomes has always been more keen on the serious
experimental side of jazz and disdains turning jazz music into family
and tourist entertainment. Gomes still rues the fact that the Jazz
Yatra wound down completely. “Jazz is serious creative music, its a
group of musicians communicating with each other through their music
to create innovative sounds. You can’t do that if people are chatting
and children running around”, says Gomes. What annoys him more, and a
lot of jazz musicians will concur, is that hotels and restaurants pay
musicians a pittance. Jazz bands require a minimum of four musicians
on stage, and with hotels paying less and less for a night’s
performance, sometimes as low as Rs 500, jazz bands have had to
disband, emerge as soloists or duos, killing the magic of the jazz

That is largely the story of Mumbai’s once thriving jazz band scene
that played in hotels like the Oberoi and the Taj. While many of the
greats of the swinging sixties have passed on, some of their younger
followers have relocated to Goa, some returning to ancestral homes, as
jazz warriors effecting a resurgence in Goa’s global tourist village.
Steve Sequeira, Mac Dourado, George Fernandes, Carlos Monteiro, Carlos
Gonsalves, Lester Godinho and Angelie Alvares, have done their bit,
playing jazz gigs in hotels and restaurants.

Victor Gomes can take credit for organising the first Great Music
Revival in the nineties, that brought on stage, the region’s best
known jazz musicians from the late Chris Perry, to Anibal Castro and
Braz Gonsalves. The latter proved that India’s jazz virtuosos could
still fill an outdoor venue, when he gave a memorable performance at a
2011 concert with Louis Banks in Panjim’s Kala Academy, drawing
flawlessly clear notes from his saxophone.

Gonsalves’s wife Yvonne still entrances audiences as she sings with
Jazz Junction each Friday night at the Goa Marriott and at Poco Loco
restaurant in Baga. “I could never give up Jazz music. I’d love to go
on and on and its great to sing in Goa”, says the soft spoken Yvonne,
who definitely picked up a love for jazz music from her late father,
the legendary Chic Chocolate.

Jazz as entertainment in Goa’s many restaurants may not quite be at
the creative cutting edge of music, but it still gives off great
vibes, creates a commercial opening for musicians, and when a
dedicated audience follows, the jazz club scene that emerges is no
less stimulating or creative. Jazz nights with Colin D’Cruz’s Jazz
Junction at Poco Loco is one of the most happening venues for jazz
during tourist season. Diners, mainly middle aged western tourists,
who return year after year, enjoy the drink and food and imbibe
equally of the music. “For the Poco Loco gigs, my good friend Bob
Tinker, plays a mean trumpet, joining us every year for a couple of
months, leaving his own jazz club in France to enjoy the jazz scene in
Goa” says Colin.

Colin swears that Goa is emerging as the new hub for live jazz music
in India. At Stone House in Candolim, one could almost believe that.
Thrice a week, Pascoal Fernandes, strums his guitar
playing jazz, soft rock and retro melodies for an audience of British
long stay visitors who are regulars at the garden restaurant set in an
old Indo-Portuguese villa with an old world charm about it. Pascoal
is a veteran with three decades of playing in jazz bands that graced
Mumbai’s five star hotels, and his virtuosity with the guitar are
proof. Owner Chris Fernandes is proud that Stone House’s reputation
for its music is as acclaimed as for its food and atmosphere.
“Musicians from among the guests, will often get on stage and jam up.
There are regulars like David Peterson, Elvis Rumiao and Tom Lee who
perform here, besides some of the guests themselves” says Chris. No
dance music, no rock-n-roll at this restaurant. Stone House is
oriented strictly towards jazz and the Blues and soft rock.

Jazz Inn in Cavelosim, south Goa is another restaurant run by a lover
of the music. Owner Chris Pereira, a former saxophone player, says
some of the best shows at his eatery are given by tourists, who simply
jam together on the instruments kept on stage. “Some of our magical
nights are when George Hamilton, a tourist and musician, plays his
trumpet and jams with local musicians to create a great atmosphere
united by music and camaraderie that is pretty special and quite
essential to any jazz club”, says Pereira. Wednesdays and Saturday
nights are reserved for blues and jazz, often so full that Chris has
to turn down table bookings.

It is this sort of not so insignificant audience for jazz music, that
some club and restaurant owners are chasing, when they set up special
jazz nights. Pianist Xavier Pires with his small jazz group plays
Thursdays at the Casino Carnaval. The Pentagon restaurant in Majorda,
south Goa chases a small audience, but has an unlikely group of jazz
musicians who jam up to play once a week. The group of jazz musicians
include a priest, a cardiologist, a bank clerk and a farmer!

As with all businesses, they wax and wane, some shut down, some
stagger along, some struggle to build a “scene”. Baga’s Take 5 club
has a tepid on-off scene, while Jazz Corner in Candolim, under a new
management has had a change of character, switching to Rajasthani folk
dances! Restaurants that once featured jazz nights move over to other
genres in search of a paying clientele. And musicians do realise that
jazz has to compete with DJ dance music, techno, rock, reggae, retro,
Latino and standard pop for space. Despite this, jazz has its niche
and lovers of the genre are keen to hold that space and even expand

Heritage Jazz — a concept that married jazz music and heritage
architecture in a colonial mansion in Panjim’s Campal quarter —- has
seen dozens of successful concerts over the past decade.
Non-professional pianist and owner Armando Gonsalves, drove the
concept of holding balcony and courtyard performances by foreign jazz
groups that became hugely popular. Gonsalves is now attempting to
marry Konkani lyrics and jazz to recreate Konkani jazz. Nobody has
forgotten that regional Konkani music got its greatest all time hits
when jazz composer Chris Perry teamed up with singer Lorna Cordeiro in
the sixties. “It’s really the way forward. Someday a Konkani song
could win a Grammy award. That is why I have convinced the five
Monserrate brothers of Mumbai to regroup as a band” says Gonsalves.

This article appeared in Soundbox 1st anniversary issue page 49:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.