To brighten up your Saturday night by adding a heavy dose of jazz, it will be a local collective of seven members – Bollyjazz. The Delhi-based group which adds a refreshing twist to the Hindi acts of yesteryear is led by Nikhil Mawkin and Nathalie Ramirez Tovar. They will kick off the annual “Switch on the Christmas Light” ceremony at CC & FC. The musical evening is organized by Indulge, The Morning Standard with Senco Gold and Diamonds, Rangoli, Ranjh, Goodrick Tea and Sky LED as associate partners. The hosting partner for the event is NX Hotel. 10-year-old music group founder Mawkin gives us an overview of the evening.
How does it feel to play in Kolkata and how insightful do you think the audience is here?
We are very happy to play in Kolkata and we find here that people are very receptive to different forms of music. Being a cultural city, we hope people can enjoy this unique project. Some of our favorite jazz bands have come from Kolkata which leads us to believe that jazz has more support in this part of India. We hope the public will accept us here. Mixing jazz with Hindi film music is so refreshing.
What led to this beautiful synthesis?
The idea of Bollyjazz was born when I returned to India after studying at Berklee College of Music. Having realized that jazz instrumentation already existed in Hindi film music between the 60s and 70s; I wanted to move away from club remixes of existing songs. So I adopted a new approach that would keep alive the essence of a live performance in a jazz context.
How has the group evolved over these ten years?
Over the past ten years, the ensemble has grown in several ways. Currently we are a group of seven musicians with Nathalie Ramirez on transverse flute, Chie Nishikori on trombone, Fabio Carlucci on trumpet, Maarten Visser on saxophone, me on guitar and vocals, Bhaskar Gurung on bass and Shantanu Sudharshan on battery. Each of us has knowledge of different forms of music, from jazz to Western classical and even Hindustani classical music, which we try to use creatively while playing the Bollyjazz.
How is the playlist for the evening?
We have a very special show prepared for the evening. We will not only be playing songs from our Bollyjazz setlist, but also adding some of our favorite North American and South American jazz standards.
What are your most requested songs?
While everyone has their own choice, Dil Deke Dekho seems to be the song that always draws people to the stage. Shola Jo Bhadke in our samba arrangement also tops the list.
We are now working to bring more singers together. We also want to do more recordings in Mexico, using the Big Band orchestra setting, and maybe even combining Latin rhythmic elements with these songs.
Bollyjazz will be performing at CC&FC on December 4th at 7pm.