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The Music Juggler

Multi-instrumentalist Jose Neil Gomes likes to pick up indigenous instruments while touring across the globe

Written by Anjali Jhangiani KP | Published: July 31, 2013 5:03 am

At the age of nine,Jose Neil Gomes started taking violin classes and also learnt to play the piano. But after two-and-a-half years of trying to master the instrument,he did not feel inspired and gave it up. Music,however,did not let go of him. After enrolling in St Xaviers College in Mumbai,Gomes went back to musical instruments.

This time round,the inspiration did not wane and he went on to learn 23 musical instruments including viola,cello,upright bass,flute,saxophone,clarinet,melodica,trumpet,tuba and trombone.

“Each instrument requires a lot of dedication. I have picked up many instruments since my first year of college and began playing with Kailasa,Sunidhi Chauhan’s troupe and many other independent bands which toured across India and abroad. The exhaustion of extensive travel made it difficult for me to keep in touch with all the instruments yet I tried to introduce new instruments in my performance,” says Gomes,adding that

a gig only allows him to perform a maximum of three instruments. Also,it is wise to travel with few instruments,he adds.

Though the long hours spent on the road might be draining his energy,they also give him the opportunity to pick up more folk musical instruments from around the world.

“Last year,while travelling with Kailasa,I picked up a kalimba from Nairobi. It is a native African thumb piano. I also picked up a didgeridoo from Australia,which is an Australian folk instrument,” says Gomes,who will be performing in the city today.

He learns to play these instruments on the internet and through friends in Mumbai’s music circle. The most difficult instrument he has tried to play is an accordion which he picked up from Goa some months ago. “I tried to play it but it was very difficult. I took a break and haven’t got back to it yet,” says Gomes.

Playing with different bands that specialise in different genres of music,Gomes is conditioned to a wide musical palatte. For Kailasa,a Sufi-based band,he plays the guitar,flute and violin whereas for Hypnotribe,he pitches in with the saxophone.

The musician adds that his most recent venture is a collaboration with Roshini Baptist,who has sung tracks for Murder 2 and Talaash. “I am arranging the music for her debut studio album which comprises simple songs about personal relationships.

I took up the project as a learning ground for my own studio album,” says Gomes,who has been writing songs for a few years and is now focused on arranging music for it.

Gomes also has the future chalked out. “My music project is called ‘Grass is Green’,for which I have a lot of material and have sung my songs. I am keen on producing it and going live,but it will take some time. After that,I want to go backpacking to exotic places such as South America and Istanbul,” he says.Jose Neil Gomes will perform as part of the Roshni Baptist Trio at Swig from 9 pm today

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