DELHI: When the sound of one artiste is met with the other’s instrument, and the other’s voice is spontaneously matched with the former’s tempo, you know you’re in company of some spontaneous music making. With new-age musicians making Jazz fuller and more inclusive, festivals such as Giants of Jazz are revelling in their acclaim.
With the view of taking the genre to new ears, The Piano Man Jazz Club and Lock & Key have curated an event that embraces heterogeneity in music, making each sound count.
Sentirenla Lucia is one of the participating artistes. She hails from Nagaland and her strength lies in R&B, Neo-soul and Jazz-fusion music. Born in the city of Kohima, at the time of Moatsü, a festival of music and dance celebrating the harvest season, Lucia carries the festival’s ebullience in her each day.
At the festival, she is singing compositions that shed light on things she went through after she moved to Delhi. Holding On by Gregory Porter and Better Than by Gretchen Parlato are two of them.
With parents of mixed cultural heritage, she grew up in a musically cosmopolitan atmosphere. “I am very influenced by my maternal tribal ancestry as well as the music of my paternal South Indian roots. My mother belongs to the Ao tribe of Nagaland, where music is an integral part of the culture. My grandfather was a renowned Christian missionary in Nagaland, which is predominantly Christian,” she says. As a result, she grew up immersed in church music, instilling a deep love for gospel music in her.
Lucia studied Rhythm and Blues at Berklee College of Music. She majored in Performance and delved into the study of the genre. “Because of this, I had to do performances and surveys on Blues and Jazz artists from 2007-2010. My mentor and a few other teachers at Berklee were kind enough to give me opportunities to sing backgrounds for them, which pushed me to learn fast and study with artists like Bobby Mcferrin, Tata Vega and John Blackwell,” she says.
By the time she graduated, she knew she wanted to be a teacher. At times, the fierce competitiveness of the industry scares her. At other times, it breaks her heart looking at what people are willing to do to get ahead. “I only hope I’m able to be a better artist than that. Make good music when I can and hope it helps others in a way it helped me to heal and grow,” she says.
Her time at Berklee taught her a great deal. Her growth took several positive turns when she was living there. “My take away was the understanding that there will always be better artists but not enough good musicians who bring out the best in you, and if/when you find them, you should keep working with them,” says Lucia.
The decreased demands for bands and acapella groups has been bothering her for some time now. She hopes she can play a part in somehow changing the present state of things.
Some of the others performing at the festival are Sava Boyadzhiev Trio, a Bulgarian drummer, percussionist, timpanist, sessions musician and educator; The Shonai Collective, a trio with funk, traditional jazz, blues and pop sounds; Kefaya, an eclectic group of immigrants, travellers and international artists and others.
Time to tune into the mixes of the Jazz Age. November 30 to December 9, from 9 pm onwards, at Lock & Key in Gurgaon; The Piano Man Jazz Club in Safdarjung Enclave.