Grandfather Dileep and grandson Rohan have been grooving the world with their brand of diatonic harmonica, winning awards and hearts. They rocked UK recently with their performance at a competition and bagged the top prizes. And to add a feather in their cap, the grandson has been invited to train under the legendary Howard Levy of USA.
KARSTEN MIRANDA gushes about their achievements
You often come across postcards or advertisements that portray a loving bond between grandparents and their grandchildren. In some cases, the grandchild is seen learning from the wisdom of the grandparent. While these are sights every grandparent craves for, to watch their grandchild grow up, in Goa, there is one case that is indeed postcard worthy.
Meet Dileep Naik, resident of Betalbatim, who along with his grandson Rohan Singhal have been making waves in the world of international jazz music.
They have recently won the first position in the UK National Harmonica Festival held in Bristol, England, in the duo category. Rohan went on to participate in three other categories and secured the first position in each of them.
In India, this is a big achievement considering that very few people play diatonic harmonica, which is used to play blues and jazz.
“We play diatonic which is popular in US Europe and South America. Most people in India play chromatic harmonica on which all chromatic notes can be easily played. In India mostly people have taken up playing chromatic harmonica as it’s easier to play Bollywood music,” Dileep explained with a smile.
Incidentally, this was not the first time the grandfather and grandson duo achieved great honours (and we know certainly not the last).
They also won laurels at Trossingen, Germany this year at the World Harmonica Festival, which is organised every four years like Olympics. This small town is home to Hohner, the German manufacturer of musical instruments. Hohner is identified especially with harmonicas and accordions.
This year again, it was a gala event with over 703 harmonica players from around the world performing on a stage under different categories and 3000 folks coming in to support this musical extravaganza.
In due course of their performances abroad at events, Dileep and Rohan have made friends with the Chileans, Argentinians, Japanese, South Koreans, Chinese, Hong Kong nationals, Iranians and met scores of Spaniards, Hungarians, Germans and the French.
“There were problems regarding language but everyone understood the music we were playing. We all got so friendly we thought we knew each other for ages. This can be only cause of the bond we had, the bond of music. I have never seen such close bond between those who contest to win,” added Dileep.
There were 12 different categories in which all participating in their choicest field performed.
Rohan Singhal got third place in Jazz / melody section and secured fifth place in blues/ rock group.
Speaking about these competitions, Dileep said a great part about it was how it brought people together and where they got to meet some of the best harmonica performers in the world.
Rohan aged 12 was appreciated by all the world class artist in Trossingen, Germany and was called to perform as ‘Rohan from Goa, India’.
Rohan showed great acumen and interest when he was barely three or four years old. While his grandfather gradually trained him, at a tender age of seven, he first performed with band Lynx and the Colin D’Cruz ‘s Jazz Goa. Since then he has been playing with several bands and many festivals like the Indian harmonica festival in 2015 and the Jazz Goa international day in Panjim in 2016.
“Rohan was the youngest musician to take the stage at Jazz Goa's International Jazz Day event in 2016. He played beautifully with absolutely no stage fright even though it was an international event. From there itself I could see he had a bright future in music ahead of him especially with the tremendous encouragement he gets from his parents and especially his grandfather Dileep, who is a passionate harmonica player himself,” said Colin D’Cruz, Goa’s leading jazz musician and producer.
Rohan’s young career got another boost earlier this year, as he got the chance to receive training from a legend in this field, Howard Levy from USA.
Dilieep is proud that his passion was picked by his grandson, how his career is shaping up and he cherishes the moments they share together.
Speaking about how he picked up interest in this instrument, Dileep said it was given to him as a gift in the eighties and he got hooked ever since. Dileep has also played with the likes of Colin D’Cruz, Emiliano D’Cruz, Andre Souza, Ashley Fernandes and Mac Dorado and their bands.
For now, the grandfather-grandson duo are looking forward to their next gigs, having already received invites from US, China and South Korea for next year.