In the evenings,on the bustling streets of south Mumbai,Jann and Aiki can be heard long before they can be seen. The first visible sign of their presence is a snazzy black hat placed carelessly on the pavement. Then,there is the crowd of curious onlookers,on their way back home from work. Through the human wall formed around,the duo reveals itself in installments first the mouth of a trombone,then the neck of a guitar,and then themselves. Sitting there are two persons from the other side of the world,playing jazz music to no one in particular.
This is how the two have spent most of their evenings in the past four-five years in different corners of the world. Their last stop was Istanbul,Turkey,where they spent about six months. They came to Mumbai in the early part of November,on what they thought was a sweltering day in the peak of summer.
They play on the promenade at Marine Drive,parts of Colaba,and occasionally,Juhu beach. Sometimes,its a more formal performance at hotels,pubs or birthday parties. But thats not as much fun though we get better money. Playing on the streets is very,what do you call it,spontaneous, Aiki says in halting English.
Jann Sky is from Brno,Czechoslovakia and Aiki from Marseille,France. But for about half a decade,neither of them has spent more than a couple of months in his hometown in a year. Staying at the same place would have been too boring, says Jann. Id rather see new places and meet new people.
Jann,who plays the trombone,learnt music in Spain,where he lived with his family. Aiki learnt the guitar as a youngster in Marseille. The two play mostly original compositions,with an occasional European popular number. We need a lot of practice,which we usually do for a couple of hours every day. The harder we work when nobodys listening,the easier it looks when we are in front of people, Jann says.
Though life in Indias maximum city has been tough,they have found their share of earnest audiences and helpful friends. Its very expensive here if you want to live for more than a few days. But we are getting along,and it is great fun.
The journey continues with the conversation shifting to possible venues for the evening performance and dinner haunt. As the days go by,they hope to shed their tourist garb and become true blue Mumbaikars. They travel in local trains,eat authentic Indian food and even speak a few words in Hindi with the autorickshaw drivers and vegetable vendors not bad for a start. As the sun sets on yet another day at the sea front,the impromptu concert begins again,with an impromptu audience listening in.