Music from the streets of Mumbai... revamped!

Updated: Mar 13, 2019, 08:55 IST | Karishma Kuenzang

A city-based saxophone (alto) player will blend New Orleans jazz and city sounds with his new ensemble this Friday

Music from the streets of Mumbai... revamped!
Ramon Ibrahim

A Bandra boy is bringing back the music from the streets of Mumbai in a new avatar, with the debut of the ensemble Bombay Brass this Friday. And who better to combine the essence of Bombay and jazz than Rhys Sebastian, who was brought up by his musician mother Merlin D'Souza and grandfather, cello maestro Sebastian D'Souza? "It was inspiring to watch my mother work and provide for the family. The possibility of doing something apart from music — writing about football, for example — was there, but this is where I belong," the 30-year-old Manchester United fan shares.

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Rhys Sebastian

His new ensemble, comprising Robin Fargose (trumpet), ID Rao (tenor sax), Ramon Ibrahim (trombone), Jehangir Jehangir (drums), Saurabh Suman (bass), Zohran Miranda (guitar) and Rahul Wadhwani (keys), is a result of his quest for his own sound and is more about experiencing the music than about just being a collective, Sebastian says. "It's about bringing the musical experience from the streets to the stage and giving it back to the audience. I love that energy and we tap into the same, making it inclusive for musicians as well as the audience," he adds.

In a way, their music will bring together Bombay and New Orleans, he points out. "I've always loved the hustle and bustle of Bombay, which I feel is a distant relative of New Orleans. Both have similar street music, with a lot of brass [like in wedding bands here]. I love the rawness of that sound. I love the freedom of expression in both these cities. What we are doing is not something that I have seen here," he adds.

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Saurabh Suman

Besides doing Amy Winehouse and Stevie Wonder covers, the band will also have some Shankar Jaikishan songs that Sebastian's grandfather had originally rearranged. "I love Bollywood songs from the '60s and '70s, like Mera Naam Joker. I'm looking forward to bringing that back with a lot of brass," Sebastian informs. Their two originals for the evening promise to talk about the city, including about the traffic on the roads.

Sebastian is also working on a project called The Bartender with music director Mikey McLeary, where they will reinvent old songs from the '60s and '70s with a 10-piece band that will include three horn players and vocalists Shalmali Kholgade, Saba Azad, Rachel Varghese and Anjuli Sarvanaman.

ON March 15, 9 pm onwards
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