07 Jun 2024  |   04:04am IST

One of a kind for sure

Musicians in Goa have the benefit of recording at the Jazz Goa studio in Sangolda for free, which is a fantastic boost for those just making their mark in the business
One of a kind for sure

Ajit John

Music is part of the Goan DNA. In every village, there is a band or several bands. These bands gain popularity in the state and even around the country. Many of these bands sing covers and the occasional original song. Jazz as a genre is increasingly popular in Goa. It is helped by the fact that people from all over the country and the world reside in the state. And yes, musicians from all over are making Goa their home. This rich culture of music is helped by the presence of bars and restaurants that hire their services. The bands that perform at weddings definitely earn a pretty penny. For those who

 like to compose and perform original numbers, there are outlets that encourage them. There is also now a studio in Goa that offers its services free of cost to musicians who want to come and record new material.

The Jazz Goa studio at Sangolda is a free audio/video recording facility available to all local talent, from beginners to accomplished professionals. So far, over two hundred albums have been recorded without any money changing hands. Some of the songs from these albums have even topped the internet charts. Jazz Goa’s music has launched many newcomers and exposed many accomplished veterans who would have otherwise faded into obscurity. One such artist who spent a lifetime singing on hotel resident band contracts is Lorena Tandon, a Goan singer who spent decades singing in Mumbai and Delhi before finally settling down in Goa. Another artist currently in the process of recording her debut album after over four decades of singing is Caroline Manning. On the other end of the spectrum is thirteen-year-old Shannon Fernandes, probably the youngest jazz singer in India, who recorded her debut album at Jazz Goa Studio.

The man behind the studio, Carl  D Cruz, says, “I moved to my hometown of Goa in 2008 with the intention of setting up my own recording studio, a dream that every musician has. Music gave me everything in life, and after close to five decades of performing across India and around the world, I felt it was time to give back. I made my studio available to everybody, free of charge for both audio and video production. The reason why I could do this is because my music streaming on many platforms generates enough income for me to live comfortably. I really don’t need more than I already have. Life in Goa has been good. These days, nothing makes me happier than promoting and encouraging Goa’s amazing music talent.”

Several musicians who have recorded at the studio spoke highly of the facilities. Maxi Peters, the guitarist, said he recorded at the studio. He says, “It is a nice, good small studio where a lot of musicians record their music. The fact that it is free is very helpful.” Shannon Fernandes said her father and Carl were friends and from there it grew. “I recorded my debut album there. I recorded the song At 

Last by Etta James in that studio. I will surely use the facility in the future. The fact that it is free is great.”

The atmosphere in the studio also helps. Brenda Menezes, a noted jazz singer, says the vibe in the studio was very relaxed and homely. She says, “In such an atmosphere you can do your best. Colin is very encouraging and the fact that the studio is free certainly helps. I don’t know what studios cost, but he gives you the time to redo your stuff. Studios otherwise can be very cut and dry. This studio is very good.” Joshua Costa, one of Goa’s most promising jazz talents, said a lot of new talent used the facility and he had recorded his first album in the studio. He said for someone who was taking his initial steps in the business, it would be an expensive proposition to record in a studio, but since it was free it was fantastic. Seby Fernandes said he had even made videos over there. He said that as a jazz musician, it was always great to record at the facility because Colin would be present and he loved his style. The recordings, Seby said, always came out good. He would use the facility in the future.  The fact that it was homely and very comforting was very important for Sherise Dsouza, an international award-winning dynamic vocalist and songwriter. She says the presence of Colin meant it was like recording with a best friend. She says, “ It makes for a very comfortable experience. Anyone who is recording in a studio for the first time may feel very nervous. Colin makes it comfortable. He is good and very fast. It is a very good experience for someone who has never recorded before. He has a different way of communicating. It shows in the way the song is treated. This studio certainly promotes musicians in Goa. The fact that it is free certainly helps. Jazz Goa is about the music”.

Hema Sardesai, famous playback singer, said it was a fantastic facility and she had used it on numerous occasions. She said the facilities were excellent and the fact that Colin was present made it a fantastic experience.    

Jazz Goa recently tied up with the Global Goan Association of Canada to source Goan talent for events in Canada. The first of these events takes place in July, when two bands from Goa A36 and Jazz Junction will perform in Canada. Plans are also on to charter a cruise liner in July 2025 and have the entire ship transformed into a Goa experience with Goan chefs, artistes and of course, Goan people onboard a week-long cruise.

Close to five thousand videos on Jazz Goa’s YouTube channel document the work done over the last decade. One hopes such initiatives continue to prosper so that Goan musicians continue to fly high.


Iddhar Udhar