CHENNAI: Born in the US, vocalist-cum -composer Deborah J Carter grew up in Hawaii and Japan. She has travelled extensively across Europe and Asia, performing in jazz festivals, jazz clubs, seminars, and radio and TV shows with her trio (Deborah J Quartet) or as a guest with various formations from solo pianists to large orchestras. While on tour, she has also given master classes all over the world. After her performance at The Taj Club House in the city recently, she spoke to City Express about her experience here, love for Indian food and a lot more.
You are in the city for the first time. How do you feel being here?
I am here for the very first time. Well, to put it short, the experience has been very relaxing. India was on my travel wish list from a very long time. Among my friends, most of them musicians, I’m the first one who hadn’t been here for long. My friends told me that before I die, I had to visit India and perform. And that’s how I landed here.
Before visiting Chennai, you were in Delhi for a performance. How different is Chennai from Delhi, for you?
I was in Delhi for six days where I was teaching at the American Embassy. Well, Chennai is much hotter than Delhi. I had a tight schedule here. I arrived early in the morning and had to rehearse. As far as the crowd is concerned, I guess here it is more relaxed. It was fun performing here.
Tell us about your overall experience performing here
It was more relaxing here. I got to feel the pulse of the people and it was a special night for the band, musically. The people of Chennai are extremely friendly. We explored a bit more here because of the friendly and calm atmosphere. That actually came as a surprise, given the fact that this was my first performance here and I had hardly met anyone from the audience before. Overall, we had a great time!
Did you visit any places here?
We had a tight schedule. So, I couldn’t make time for going around the city. When I come the next time, I’ll definitely make time for it. I got to meet the people, not to explore the city.
What about Indian food?
Oh! I loved it. My friends told me that the taste of Indian food is completely different, which is true. The types of spices are better here. Even the understanding of the word curry is different. For instance, if your silliest friends would say they’re going to have curry in Netherlands, I wouldn’t even know what curry actually is. (Laughs)
Sounds great. What did you have for breakfast then?
We were in a guest house and a chef was making an omelette, in Indian style. It was something we hadn’t tasted before. With finely diced onions, paprika and a little bit of spices, it was delicious. In any other international hotel, you wouldn’t find an omelette like that.
Where are you heading to next?
I will be heading to Cochin and Mumbai. And in Cochin, we are going for a long drive to the countryside. Hope it would be fun.