Goa-ing places and a-Kumily-ating experiences
It's been a few months since my last post so I thought I would update with all the musical happenings that have been passing in India!
I found a place to work in Kumily for 10 days, where I was surrounded by nature, birds and monkeys in a truly relaxing space in the western Ghat mountains. This was a wonderful opportunity to get down to writing some new music. Here, there was a large yoga studio with wooden carved walls and big opens windows opening out onto the forest, and I was lucky enough for there to be no yoga whilst I was staying here, so I had the room to myself. Whilst creating, I find that the space you choose is so important for helping you create in a way that works, and so I found this area and view fundamental to creating here. I was playing the trombone every day, working on some solo trombone pieces and set for playing live. I also encountered a few bands that I enjoyed watching and playing a bit with, so I now have an invitation to play with groups in both Kumily (Kerala) and Madurai (Tamil Nadu).
I had a similar repose in Goa, relaxing by the beach and working on more of these new songs and my set. Luckily, here there was also some live music happening, so after checking out Jazz Goa's shows and speaking to Colin who helps organise, I featured one evening at a beautiful spot above Vagator beach at Olive Bar and Restaurant. There was a wonderful vocalist, Maria Meireles from Portugal and we had some lovely duets together. Much of the music was improvised or standards but more than anything, it was just great fun to be playing with a live band again. Also, Colin was a star and gave me the contact details of some musicians in Mumbai!
So I have been in Mumbai for the last few weeks and I am approaching the end of my time here. What a vibrant city! There's music happening everywhere on every corner in so many bars and clubs.
On my first night here, I just went for a quiet drink in a bar and happened to chance across a group of musicians under the name of Tilt Entertainment. I chatted with them a while and they run a serious of live music nights every week, so for my few weeks here I have been regularly meeting, playing and gigging with these guys. It's been really good fun and made some great friends - culminating in a fun night yesterday evening with a lot of playing from rock 'n' roll, jazz, funk and some soul.
From Goa, I contacted the musicians in Mumbai, who were a bassist from America called D, and a saxophonist from Mumbai called Amar. D was a gentleman and invited me for a small rehearsal with himself and a few others at Bandra Base, which is a hub that runs a lot of jazz nights in Mumbai, often under the guise of D and co. as The Bombay Jazz Club. It was great to meet them and play around a while - I went to a few more gigs and even a nice evening testing a menu at a new club that Amar is opening. I also played a fun gig with the 'Jazz Junkies' (feat. Amar and many other cracking musicians) for a supposedly rowdy crowd at the Yacht Club in south Mumbai.
I attended a few Sufi fusion concerts in which some traditional Sufi instruments were combined with Hindustani and bollywood styles, usually with vocals and these were superb, eye opening and really enjoyable to watch - especially for interaction between the musicians. I would love to see more of this kind of thing!
Lastly, I came across an exhibition at the Jehangir Art Gallery (during their summer art showcase) of the art of Suprabhat Bhaduri. His work are these wonderful abstract landscapes that remind a bit of space in Dali's work, but in a more abstract expressionist and colourful way. I was lucky enough to actually meet him since the exhibition was live for artists to actually sell their art and had a great conversation with him. I'm opening up a dialogue for us to collaborate, firstly I'd love to do a suite for small jazz ensemble of the 7 landscapes that were actually showing at this exhibition which he has also shown interest in!
To conclude, the two months have been great fun to get involved and start really engaging musically out here, planning pieces and thinking about what I am seeing. However, most of the music I've found and engaged with so far, especially in Mumbai has either been that of western influence, or creating within my own personal sphere, so as I move forward to Rajasthan (and my folk workshops I have organised), I'm planning to engage a lot more fully with the local and folk musics to get a different twist on the town musical landscapes.
Thanks for reading!