A little Christmas jazz
05 Dec 2018 05:22am IST
Reaching out to a diverse audience, Stuti Choral Ensemble is ringing in the festive cheer, this time in a jazzy manner, by performing Bob Chilcott’s ‘A Little Jazz Mass’. Café has the detail
Ensemble has a surprise coming
your way, this December. While Mozart’s works will continue to hold a special
place in their repertoire, as will popular Konkani Christmas carols in all
their four-voice glory, Stuti will bring to the Goan stage Bob Chilcott’s ‘A
Little Jazz Mass’.
“I hope that the
audience is able to appreciate that sacred music doesn’t have to belong to the
past, but can be current and, in some cases, extremely progressive,” says
Parvesh Java, Classical pianist and music conductor. “There is this idea that
sacred music needs to have a stillness, but one must realise that the
fundamental point of making music is to reach people, and their ears are not
stuck in the past!”
With this in mind,
Stuti gears up to celebrate this genre of music that first took form within the
African-American community of the United States of America. Jazz has come a
long way from its humble beginnings in an era of slavery and subjugation, to
take the world stage by storm. And today, even sacred music makes an
association with this style that is growing in popularity. “The text of the
Latin Mass Ordinary comes alive through the jazz paradigm. The catchy tunes and
rhythms make for a communal celebration,” Java adds.
The Stuti Choral
Ensemble is the brainchild of Fr Eufemiano Miranda, as much a man of choral
music as a man of God. “I am very happy that this initiative that I took, way
back in 2009, with a view to preserving the choral music tradition in Goa, has
grown,” he says. “It’s not my effort; it’s common effort. And this effort could
only bear fruit, because people with high musical education have associated
themselves with us. As such, the choir has acquired this stature, this
Alto singer Catherine
D'Souza will be conducting for the first time in Goa. “Being a violin teacher,
this brings out a different aspect of my musical talent. I am grateful to
Parvesh Java for giving me this opportunity,” she expresses.
Jason Quadros, whose
jazz piano playing is described as “an absolute thrill!” by Java, will don the
hat of conductor and singer as well. “As we challenge ourselves to perform
these lovely choral works, we begin to grow in musical maturity, and thus, have
a better understanding of the music,” he says. But there’s more to it, for
Jason. “Performing such pieces keeps us interested and having fun.”
The young and the
young at heart pool their talent together in this choir comprising more than 30
members, most of them professionals in fields other than music, who spend time
together purely for the love of music. Notably, this time, four of the members
will wield the conductor’s baton. “It’s wonderful to have young people take the
stage as conductors, and take responsibility,” says Java, himself a young conductor.
Java, from Mumbai,
has received a Bachelor of Music degree at the Chicago College of Performing
arts. For the love of producing music, he frequently travels to Goa. “I love my
life in Goa, mainly because I like the option of having space. And I really
believe that the more space you have, somehow, in an almost Einsteinian way,
the more time you have. I think that the time and space, coupled with a
constant interaction with nature, really make you feel settled and hence
organically productive,” he elaborates. Last year in December, Stuti was
invited to give two performances in the Udupi district of Karnataka, where they
were very well-received. The Konkani carols included the Mangalorean ‘Rakhun
Ravlam Somia’, and the result was a fusion of trills typical of Indian music
with the choir’s signature Western Classical style of singing.
This December, Stuti
is set to enthral audiences right here at home, in various parts of Goa.
“Culture should not be elitist,” Fr Miranda asserts. “It is not only in the capital
that we choose to perform. Culture should go towards the people. We would also
like to take our music to other parts of Goa, where it is convenient for people
to reach us.” The repertoire includes prominent Yuletide hymns in Konkani,
rendered in choral style, some of them arranged by long-standing member of
Stuti and eminent Goan musician, Antonio Vas. Stuti Choral Ensemble will
perform on Friday, December 7, 2018 at Holy Family Church, Porvorim; on
Thursday, December 13 at Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim;
and on Friday, December 14 at Holy Spirit Church, Margão. All shows will begin
at 7 pm.
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