Goa Shows the Way Through "Jazz for Peace"

The “Jazz for Peace” show held in the streets near Gonsalves Mansion, was an event that struck the heart, as an event of emotion, love, peace, togetherness and unity. It was simply amazing that over 1200 fired up people witnessed music from Europe’s top artistes i.e. The Saskia Laroo Quintet from Amsterdam and the Harri Stojka Quartet from Vienna in Austria.

The event, held in difficult circumstances in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, was planned for a long time by Jazz aficionado, Armando Gonsalves of Heritage Jazz, but was cancelled due to the mayhem. However, with Saskia Laroo determined to go ahead with the show as an event for peace which she was keen to dedicate to the victims, Armando decided to press on with it, albeit in a different style altogether. And hence, “Jazz for Peace” was born, presented by the charitable organization
Spirit of Goa. And what a show it turned out to be!

Being a peace event, it was thrown open to people absolutely free of cost so that everyone could participate. The show attracted the biggest crowd that Gonsalves Mansion has ever seen with people from all walks of life participating and enjoying music that was world class.

Harri Stojka, considered to be the world’s best Gypsy jazz guitarist, started the event with popular numbers from the Gypsy almanac, and then graduated into music that was composed by him and his teammates. Harri was simply amazing on the guitar, with his deft playing drawing oohs and aahs from the crowd that was already ready to savour music of the highest quality. Gypsy jazz is upbeat, exciting and high energy and Harri and his band members were simply fantastic. Claudius Jelinek was relaxed and cool on his rhythm guitar with Adolf Schneeberger simply amazing on drums with Heimo Wiedernofer on bass rounding off the Gypsy Jazz quartet that enthralled Goa to the fullest.

But undoubtedly, it was Saskia Laroo who stunned the crowd with her brand of Jazz funk, jazz-rock and rap jazz that got the crowd on its feet. She was simply amazing, full of life and joie de vivre. She started off the concert with the number “It’s just jazz” and then went on to mesmerize the packed audience with music that surprised all that were present. If anyone thought that jazz was for listening pleasure only, they were in for a grand surprise since Saskia and her quintet pumped up the evening with numbers that had people dancing, fully energized by the funky tunes that were played to perfection and more, by Saskia on the trumpet, Warren Byrd on vocals and piano, Alexander Beets who was simply mind blowing on the saxophone, Andy Valkenburg on bass and ever smiling and stunningly attractive girl drummer Dorota Piotrowska. All this in Campal, now seemingly the Jazz Capital of India!

The streets of Campal were adorned with decorative lights, and the area wore a festive look. Before the commencement of the show, a two minute silence was observed in the memory of those killed in Mumbai. Both Saskia and Harri spoke at the occasion and expressed pain at what had happened but also made it a point to mention that they were here to unite people through music. Amazingly, while Harri was in Delhi during the strikes and decided to stay on and come to Goa, Saskia came in to Mumbai soon after the terror strikes thus displaying rare courage in the face of adversity. While there is so much pain and fear all over, it is quite evident that music unites people, and this could be seen by the fact that such a large audience defied fear and came over in big numbers to attend the greatest and most exciting jazz show that Goa has seen in a long while.

For more details on the exciting shows happening in Goa, do visit www.heritagejazz.com

Author: armandogonsalves

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