The sun was setting on the western horizon at Miramar, splashing the sky and the sea with shades of twilight; a dramatic fusion of colour and the last few rays of warmth. While lovers canoodled as evening turned dusk, a blanket of peace settled around this marvelous sight, engulfing and unifying all who stood witness to it. Magical!
Just around the corner, on the banks of the river Mandovi at Kala Academy another beautiful scenario played out. The open air auditorium was a buzz with the wonderful sounds of a number of musical maestros as the crowd cheered on, mesmerized by their sheer talent and performance.
It began with a scintillating solo by Amit Heri as he enchanted with his guitar. A musician worth every string he has strummed, Amit has enthralled at major international music festivals and played alongside some of the best of his contemporaries.
In steps Ranjit Barot, the son of Padmashree Sitara Devi, a drumming sensation who has played at several international music festivals. He positioned himself perfectly to enable constant eye contact and communication with the band members. “Wow” was the simple yet emphatic reaction of one lady in the crowd which reflected the ambience and emotion of everyone present. Ranjit sure drummed his way into the heart of Goa.
Karl Peters then joined this amazing duo, lending his guitar prowess to the drama unfolding on stage. Karl needs no introduction as he’s performed with probably all the good bands in the country and is the most sought after bassist in India today.
Ravi Chari joined in finally, providing a divine musical climax to this step by step performance, also adding a glorious Indian touch to it, with his sitar. The crowd loved this pure fusion of sounds and styles which captivated them completely.
Just when things were at their peak, Hari Kumar stepped in with his violin for a guest performance that thrilled and had the crowd wanting more. His flexibility and amazing energy translates impeccably under the stage lights as he catures the audience and has them right where he wants them. It is no wonder that Amit is one of the best violinists in the country.
Enter the sensuous and soulful ball of fire, Dutch diva Saskia Laroo and her band. Their third visit to Goa, had them perform at the successful Konkani rocks festival just 3 days prior, sending the crowd into a frenzy as the applauded them and joined in the singing of their beloved Konkani songs. Jazz Nirvana had Saskia in her element, as she wove her trumpeted magic, supported by her gifted band.
Warren Byrd, her pianist is also a composer and vocalist and is from the USA. He plays pure Monk, Ellington, New York hip jazz as well as music like reggae, salsa and Caribbean; he is also a spectaculair rap vocalist. He will be well remembered for his simple yet poignant gospel rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’ at the Konkani Rocks and his performance at jazz nirvana was definately an amazing grace in itself.
Her saxophonist, Alexander Beets in one of the few tenor saxophone greats from the Netherlands. He is a well rounded musician and performs along with his brothers as well as his own quartet. His quartet is frequently asked some of the Netherlands best vocalists.
Phaedra Kwant, her guitarist, was the first woman in the Netherlands to get her masters degree in playing the bass guitar. She gives lessons in composing and bass guitar and sometimes writes her own pop songs. She used to play the piano, the Cello, as well as the drums. Her expertise on the bass guitar is one to be experienced and admired.
Drummer Arno van Nieuwenhuize lent the completing touch to the Saskia quintet’s presentation with his excellent drumming.
The brilliant show that started at sunset came to a close at 10pm with the crowd begging for more. The closing curtains had Saskia and Warren perform a wonderful rendition of the great Ben E. King’s ‘Stand by me’ which was an apt and touching end to a dramatic and entertaining evening. The feeling of peace love and brotherhood played out beautifully on stage and into the audience; to all who experienced that magic, it sure was somewhere close to Nirvana!