It’s been after long that Hyderabad witnessed a jam packed audience swaying away to music. The 4th Hyderabad International Jazz festival held against the backdrop of Qutb Shahi Tombs seemed like the perfect setting for it in which six music bands participated through live and virtual performances.
The evening started with the Hyderabad band ‘Denis Powell Collective’ and beautiful Jazz Standards were played by Aman Mahajan (keys), George Hull (saxophone), Humayun Mirza (trumpet) Benjamin Christopher (bass), Keith D’Rozario (guitar), Arshad (trombone) and Charles Dominic (drums).
Jazz vocals by Pranati Khanna, Cianna Francis and Seema Mirza added a soulful atmosphere to the evening. A surprise for the Jazz festival was a flute performance by German Ambassador to India, His Excellency Walter J Lindner, who performed with a band from Delhi, ‘The Revisit Project’.
The festival had virtual participation from Christoph Stiefel Inner Language Trio, Filu Mela and Laurin Talese bands, and a grand finale by Adil Manuel Collective from Mumbai.
The artists and their art
Speaking to some of the musicians of the night, we learnt that Arshad, who had learnt piano and guitar in his childhood, took to trombone and had been performing in bands. “Music brings joy and harmony to our lives. Playing in a band develops social skills, thinking abilities and the art of working in teams. It opens up an opportunity to meet many people,” says Arshad, who sees Hyderabad as a vibrant city open to different genres of music.
Cianna Francis, one of the vocalists for the evening, is a self-taught artist who sings Jazz, R&B, Soul and Blues, and has dabbled in saxophone, guitar and ukulele, was apparently inspired by her grandfather, Tony Alex.
“It’s not easy to form a music band or keep it together for a long period. One needs to have people of the same wavelength and passion,” says Cianna, adding that there are more opportunities for regional music in Hyderabad.
Cianna, who has also written many songs on different subjects like tattoos and the highs and lows of the lockdown, tells us that getting a producer has been next to impossible. “Once the pandemic situation improves, I hope to release these songs,” she says optimistically.
New kid on the block
Seema Mirza, daughter of trumpet player Humayun Mirza ws a delight. Seema has grown with music all around her since childhood and has been singing along with her father in many venues of Hyderabad. “Music has always kept the family together. It has given opportunities to practice and perform together,” she says.
His Excellency Walter J Lindner, who started playing the guitar as a teenager, tells us that he grew up in the time of The Beatles. “Music fascinated me and I became a professional musician. But somewhere down the line, it was very difficult to hop on from orchestra to orchestra and make a living. So I started the search of life travelling driving trucks and taxis,” he shares, adding that later he decided to study law and find a better way to earn his bread and butter.
“Music gives me a different horizon of creativity. I am interested in all forms of music. Indian music has always been challenging with its intricate rules of raga and rhythm.”
Walter has also produced many albums in his recording studio. As for his advice to all youngsters, he says, “If you have the urge to express yourself through music, just do it. Don’t think about a career in music or where it takes you. Whatever anyone advises, follow your mind and carry on with your music.”...