Sunday, May 29, 2011

Story of Louiz Banks : The Godfather of Indian Jazz Music

Metamorphosis is the dominant note of his life. Not just because Dambar Bahadur Budaprithi has evolved into Louis Banks and a classical musician into a jazz star, composer and lyricist. For, his is a life which has seen a young man overcoming the tragedy of his father's death to fend for his family; a talent almost extinguished scripting its own success; an artiste who, perhaps, has not been accorded the recognition that is his due striking a balance between commerce and creativity. But if this multi-faceted musician - a composer, pianist, keyboard player, has been a victim of circumstance, he is also a victor who has met the uneven odds of destiny with a song on his lips.

He is in fact hailed as the best jazz pianist and keyboard player of the country. A man who co-composed & arranged the iconic ' Mile Sur Mera Tumhara'- The national integration video which to this day instills a sense of pride and promote unity amongst Indians, Desh raag, Spread the light of freedom (which were eulogies of national integration - portraying unity in diversity) which were aired on the small screen in the late Eighties and occasionally telecast even now. One who is the king of jingles, who has performed with musicians of repute - national and internationally, who has constantly experimented in different genres and whose body of work is notable for its music. 

In his early days, the going was not easy for Banks he had to move out of Darjeeling for a better living to Kathmandu , but again in  Kathmandu, nobody was willing to give him a chance. He met with rejection and humiliation. After days of hunting for an opening, he was taken in by a local band. It wasn't the best of places, but his career in music got off to a start, nonetheless. 

After a point, Banks moved to Calcutta, where he played at a night club. Along with band singer Pam Craine and saxophonist Braz Gonsalves, he started a group of his own -- The Louis Banks Brotherhood. The group was noticed and they soon got the chance to compose music for the film An August Requiem.
The big break happened in 1974, when R D Burman heard Banks play piano in one of the nightclubs and wanted him to play in films. There was no looking back for Banks from then on.
The transition from jazz to jingles to movies and also nominations to the Grammys, Banks has seen it all. 

At an age where his contemporaries are contemplating retirement, Banks is still exploring new territories and looking for bigger horizons.He believes that the music is a legacy and should be passed on. He is working on a project close to his heart with son Gino, an accomplished drummer and member of the fusion band 'Nexus'.

Here is the video of the 'Spread the Light of Freedom' one of Louis banks compositions which will never fad away from our memories..

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