Jazzing It up with Raga Rock

Communicare Trust has been prodigious in the good work it has accomplished thus far by drawing the best out of young people through training in the arts. Some of the Trust’s collaborations have been with NGOs such as Bethesda Life Centre and Margaret Bosco Bal Sadan, leading to plays and other activities that explore and hone previously unbeknown skills of the children housed at these homes. Now Communicare brings us a musical called Raga Rock based on the life of Goa’s famed jazz musician Braz Gonsalves.

The musical, which bears the same name as Braz’ own jazz album, is the result of a collaboration with Lotus Film and TV Production and the NGO Help India. Raga Rock, the musical and the jazz concert which will follow, are aimed at a jazz revival and commemoration of Braz’ life. The programme will take place at Kala Academy, Panaji on the 14th of June 2019 and at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao on the 15th of June 2019 at 7pm respectively.

Jazz saxophonist Braz Gonsalves was instrumental in bringing jazz to India and celebrating his contribution is a momentous occasion that has been directed by Portuguese artiste Maria Meireles. Meireles was assisted by drama enthusiast and teacher of English at Sunshine Worldwide School Sandeep Doifode. Raga Rock encapsulates the 85-year-old Braz’ musical beginnings, his climb to fame in Mumbai, and the tragedy that changed the course of his life – solidifying his belief in a higher power.

There are sixteen children participating in this musical of which four are from the Bethesda Life Centre. The others have been selected through auditions and come from all over Goa. These children have had 6 months of training and have contributed lyrics to five of the scores in the musical.

Raga Rock notably highlights Braz’s musical prowess by showcasing his original music as well as collaborations with another significant figure in Goan music Chris Perry. The scores have been rearranged by Maria Meireles and jazz pianist Jason Quadros to suit the musical.

Though initially planned exclusively as a musical, Braz’ desire to be included as a performer led to a rethinking of the event to have a jazz concert to follow. The concert features Braz Gonsalves, Louiz Banks, Karl Peters, Lester Godinho (the son of Leslie Godinho who used to play with Braz), Andrew Fernandes, Jason Quadros and Braz’ own grandson Jarryd Rodrigues. Among the singers will be Braz’s wife Yvonne, his daughter Sharon and Maria Meireles. The band Coffee Cats will also be performing, adding youthful allure to jazz which is a genre that tends to be associated with older people.

Nalini Elvino de Sousa, the managing director of Communicare Trust, is involved in directing a documentary film on the life of Braz Gonsalves to memorialise the life and tremendous contributions of the man to the music scene. The documentary will include footage of his international concerts in Macau, Portugal, etc as well as the musical Raga Rock. The documentary has a tentative release date in September or October.

The musical and the documentary are crowd-funded efforts seeking to involve the Goan community in sponsoring the documentation of what is essentially a part of Goan culture.

Tickets for the concert are priced at Rs 1000, Rs 700, Rs 500 and Rs 200 depending on the quality of seating. The tickets are available in Panjim at Pedro Fernandes, Furtado, Carasid (Miramar), and Kadence; and in Margao at Furtado, Pedro Fernandes, and Clube Harmonia. Both venues will be selling tickets two days prior to the concert.