A decade of gigs six nights a week and collaborations with musicians from different genres to play all over the world.
Colin D’Cruz,well-known Goa-based jazz musician,continues to have a busy and exciting career in music. But what makes his story special is the studio he owns and runs.
Being the land of musicians that it is, Goa is home to hundreds of studios. But Jazz Goa Studio, in particular,is one that every Goan musician knows and takes pride in. Set amidst the background of acres of rice fields, and overlooking the panchayat football ground in the village of Sangolda in North Goa, is Colin's Jazz Goa Studio.
If you are a musician, you would be familiar with the difficulties one encounters when they want to record their music in a professional studio. The problems are aplenty, from finding the right studio to the price. Most early-stage musicians have talent in abundance but resources are scarce. There is hesitance and apprehension, as a result of which the works of these talented artistes never see the light of day.
Jazz Goa acts as a saviour to such artistes and gives them a platform to record with one of India's most experienced bass players, in a state-of-the-art home studio, and collaborate with musicians from all over the world in a picturesque setting for free. Wait, there's lot of friendly banter and homeliness to top it all. Sounds like a dream, doesn't it?
"Music is an intrinsic part of life in Goa but ironically local musicians have always been given the raw deal.We are probably the lowest paid in the world! I set up Jazz Goa to try and improve things for local artistes, giving them a better local platform and also a global stage with the help of the Internet," says Colin.
Music - then and now
Having experience of more than a decade by travelling the world, Colin has not only been witness to the changing face of the Indian music scene, but has also lived it.
"My early memories of performing on resident band contracts at five-star hotels in Mumbai are vivid ones of real showtime! We had a stage where the curtains went up on each set we played and every seat in the house had a clear view of the band at places like the Taj Mahal hotel's 'Rendezvous' and the Oberoi Sheraton hotel's 'Supper Club'. Today you'll be lucky to find a solo or duo act at these same places,"Colin laments.
Electronic dance music festivals are major draws for the youth these days. From hotels to weddings, from radio stations to work stations, there's a DJ playing to a crowd of thousands somewhere in the world at this very moment. Yes, change is inevitable but talk to a seasoned musician and he will point out where we are going wrong here.
"The good old early days was the real deal where musicians honed their skill on a musical instrument to be able to play music. Today, it's all about pressing the 'play' button on some machine or the other," exclaims Colin.
Live music acts are to the current music scene what hardware firms are to the world of technology. Everybody is aware of how difficult it is to make and what the world would be without it, but there are not many takers. Lack of opportunities to perform live is proving to be a major deterrent. This scenario is prompting very talented musicians to either quit or move to greener pastures and become a part of the dance-music scene.
Bringing the world together through music
While there is disturbing news about cultural differences, border issues and nationalities all over the world, there is a silent revolution of sorts taking place at the Jazz Goa studio.
The Netherlands,United Kingdom, Singapore, Portugal, Czech Republic, US, you name it,artistes from every corner of the world have recorded at the Jazz Goa studio and performed with Colin. Where else could you hear a British saxophonist play in a Goan Konkani folk song?
This is the age of electronic dance music,reality shows and YouTube stars. Fame and success are easy to achieve. But is the generation of today missing out on something?
"Today's kids take to software instead of 'musicware'. Technology and change is all fine but just remember music is created by honing your skills on a musical instrument or vocal chords and not by pressing the play button on your machine." advises Colin.
Jazz Goa is proving to be an oasis in the hot scorching unforgiving desert with a thousand mirages of today, where musicians are having to run from pillar to post for an opportunity to showcase their talent.
"I remember my early days when recording your own song was an impossible dream. Today when i see young artistes struggling for a break i see myself in them and do my best to help them out with free studio time. Music has given me everything in life and more, it's just my small way of giving back,"Colin explains.I'm sure the ones who benefited of his goodwill wholeheartedly agree.