Soul Yatra sets the night on fire

The Sun (Malaysia)-22nd October ’05

The WORD ‘sizzling’ hardly does enough justice to describe the performance by Soul Yatra during The Hennessey XO Jazz Tour earlier this week. The Mumbai based band, often refered to as the Indian ambassadors of jazz, flew in for a special two-night perfformance at Zeta bar, Hilton Kuala Lumpur, and promptly set the place on fire.
Soul Yatra, consisting of bandleader and keyboardist Merlin D’Souza, vocalist Biance Gomes, bassist Colin D’Cruz, drummer Mukul Dongrey and Ashton Colaco on flute and saxophone, showed its ability to perform a versatile repertoire of songs comprising mainly classic jazz, indo jazz fusion and blues.
The band started the nights performance with Avalon. Biance explained that they had modified the lyrics of the classic tune to include the words Hennessey and then proceeded to belt out the song in her powerful voice, impressing the many hardcore jazz fans in the audience.
Their next number was the Indian raag influenced Amantran, with Mukul singing and drumming at the same time. Sounding more like tabla beats than regular drums, the rhythms he pounded got everyone moving to the beat.
Soul Yatra even gamely performed a couple of bollywood numbers, the theme songs from the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dhoom and the Merlin composed Yo are my Sonia. The tunes were all jazzed up creating a fresh take on otherwise familiar songs.
Biancas strong and sultry vocals were a treat to listen to especially on the band covers of Nat King Cole’s Nature Boy and Billie Holiday’s Fine and Mellow. She displayed great diversity in her singing styles, able to move from jazz to blues and everything in between.
One of the memorable songs that night was Bombay City Blues, a song about the unique Indian city Soul Yatra calls home.
The band proved that its range included more than just jazz, by covering songs like the Beatles Can’t buy me love and Favourite things from the Sound of Music.
Despite this being the band’s first performance in Malaysia, Soul Yatra clearly gained a few new fans that night, making it yet another successful gig on its tour schedule.

by Anansa Jacob

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