The full program is quite amazing and reflects masterful and thoughtful curation.. “India is everywhere” CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO LEARN MORE CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE
Telling the story of India through music and film is challenging ; it is a broad and disparate arc that spans centuries..resonance, dissonance, assimilation, emigration and transference…..and it always speaks to the cultural and social context.. music and film that speak to the past, present and future.
And there will be many stories that will be told, in music, in film and other forms.. For those interested in the story of Jazz in India.. there is a nuance that many do not know..its the story of the sound of Bollywood.. and its close links to Jazz.. and for those who know their jazz.. theres plenty of musical references to Jazz standards that will bring a smile when seen and heard in the context of a Bollywood film !
Jazz aficionado and film maker Susheel Kurien talks about the path of jazz to India
A few hours ago, a New York morning was shadowed by a passing in Kolkata (Calcutta). It marked the end of the earth life of Pam Crain , India’ first and only jazz diva, who , in a remarkable career that began as a teenager, way back in the 1930’s (with Sonny Lobo’s band) went on to become the jazz voice of India…After finishing her gigs on earth, she now joins the Great Gig in the Sky..in the company of the finest.
Her story is one of passion, and dedication for the music she loved, as she said “its hard work , it didnt come easy” …but it took her to fame, but not always fortune…respect for her outstanding and extraordinary talent, and most of all adoration and love from thousands of Pam-struck mesmerized fans. For so many , she was the voice of jazz, often their first introduction to live jazz in an era where live jazz of her quality was a scarce and rare treasure. They went home, with a vision of Pam in her Diva gown wafting in their heads and hearts, and a musical phrase with her voice in their ears..and from then on jazz, for many, truly began. She was the voice of the legendary Blue Fox in Calcutta (now a McDonalds) , and later at the Oberoi in Bombay. Inspired first by Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughn, she then, as she tells the story..”was in Bombay, and this guy who was from the American Embassy, he and his wife, insisted I go to their house, and said you must listen to this person, because you sing like her…and they put on this record and though the head phones ..i heard this voice, I was blown away , I cannot tell you how I felt ..I was in shock..” it was the great Betty Carter..and as Mr.Louiz Banks says in our Documentary Finding Carlton – Uncovering the Story of Jazz in India..”she just wanted to sing like Betty Carter” And when she met Betty in Bombay , in the early ’80’s they bonded like a mother and daughter.. and Pam “went to Heaven, that time, when we met and hung out”. Unfortunately there are just a few recordings of Pam, but her voice is carried on in many hearts.. Here is a find from the very early 70’s’s with the Braz Gonsalves 7 Pam was gracious, charming and full of sparkle and wit. She made a tremendous effort to help document her part of the Story of Indian Jazz, for us when we filmed in Calcutta in 2010. She was fragile and it was clearly difficult for her to participate. But lights, camera and action,brought back the Diva, after all she was on stage, and she would perform, regardless of pain and other things that got in the way. She was the consumate professional. Pam was full of stories.. we filmed about three hours with Pam.. stories of jazz in Calcutta, and her gigs elsewhere, of club owners, of musicians, of stories of jazz nights that only jazz people can truly believe, of her life , her triumphs , and yes, even paths she took that did had unhappy endings. She was honest.
My lasting memory of her is the compliment she paid after seeing our film .. “You really respected us musicians, thank you for telling all our stories”.. That was Pam, she understood what it took.
Her husband the gracious and gentle Donald Saigal and her talented musical daughter – Sonia Saigal are left with the memories. Our sincere condolences to them and her family of dear ones all over the world Rest in Peace , Ms Crain.. There WIll Never Be Another You
There will be many other nights like this, And I’ll be standing here with someone new. There will be other songs to sing, Another fall…another spring… But there will never be another you.
There will be other lips that I may kiss, But they won’t thrill me, Like yours used to do. Yes, I may dream a million dreams, But how can they come true, If there will never, ever be another you?
Our Film was made possible by the generosity and goodwill of over 120 people from all over the world.. On Sunday May 26th, the generosity of spirit continues when Finding Carlton will screen in Zurich, to raise funds for the Future Hope School- Kolkata
We are moved and touched by the desire to use this film to Find Good. Thank you Natasha !
Dokumentarfilms ‘Finding Carlton’, Der Erlös aus der Veranstaltung geht zugunsten der Stiftung „Future Hope“ in Kalkutta , Indien.
„Finding Carlton“: In seinem 75-minütigen Dokumentarfilm ’Finding Carlton’ entdeckt und erforscht der Regisseur Susheel Kurien die wenig
bekannte Geschichte der Jazz-Zeit in Indien zwischen den 20er und 70er Jahren. Die Tanzsäle und Cabarets der wichtigsten indischen Städte
wurden von afro-amerikanischen Jazzmusikern frequentiert, die aufgrund der Rassen-Dikriminierung während der 20er Jahre die USA verliessen.
Die Präsenz der amerikanischen Armee in Kalkutta während des zweiten Weltkrieges und vom US State Department unterstützte Jazz-Touren in
Indien beeinflussten zudem die Popularität des Jazz in Indien.
Diese bisher noch nahezu unbekannte Geschichte des Jazz in Indien wird erstmals von Susheel Kurien in seinem interessanten Dokumentarfilm
‚Finding Carlton’ erzählt.
Der 2012 produzierte Film wurde in den USA am United Nations 2012 International Jazz Day sowie unter anderem am Brampton Global Jazz
& Blues Festival und an den Universitäten Columbia und Rutgers vorgeführt.
Im Juni 2013 wird „Finding Carlton“ in Paris im Musée du Quai Branly in Zusammenarbeit mit der Sorbonne Universität gezeigt.
Between 1950 and 1952, Calcutta was home to the “Le premier négre du jazz, made in France” (= The first “black” French jazz musician) – Alix Combelle and the “modern” sound of his sextet – three saxes, and a rhythm section.
We followed up in a 2011 Update with interesting documentation including a photo of the band in Calcutta.
Next, in 2012- came the French Connection, and our friendship with Stephane Dorin, who shared this documentation written by the remarkable “Godfather of Jazz in India” – Niranjan Jhaveri, found in Charles Delaunay and Hughes Panassié ‘s Jazz Hot Magazine (1955)
Special thanks to Ashwin Panemangalore, Vicente Costa, Carlton Braganza ,Stanley Pinto and Avijit Mukul Kishore for making these screenings happen..without their efforts and hard work we would not have been able to share our film
And share we did…with new and old friends (and rediscovered old friends) many of whom astonished us by how they had been following the journey of the film ..sometimes right from its inception.. We much much appreciated the response..from a wide audience that included jazz fans, music lovers, assorted experts on jazz, metal heads, musicians, film buffs, and the just plain curious – (blue) ..
.. Our audiences spanned a wonderful demographic – from teens to the golden years crowd.. and yes many with golden ears- for jazz, for music, and for the joy that it brings when shared in a community.
Every screening was special, with a welcoming and receptive audience, many with wonderful questions, observations and insights into the era, the story and the film. And indeed we were put to the test by the very astute and intelligent students at Mt. Carmel College, Bangalore !
A fund raiser to benefit the Gina Forever Foundation..and an incredible performance by the Carlton Kitto Bebop Ensemble who flew to Bangalore for this special screening + performance.
Carlton and the band brought bebop back into Bangalore with a repertoire that was a tribute to the Book of Bop…and surely would have lit up the even the legendary Five Spot after dark ! For more photos click here on the Gina Forever Facebook Album
We are most grateful and appreciative for the kind words from press and media.. some of which are reproduced below
Four years ago, when we began this project, we had little idea of the interest that might surround it.. and apart from a few whisky sodden minds here and there, we were under the distinct impression that interest in similar research and uncovering was restricted to the aforesaid flotsam and jetsam of peripheral jazz trivia.. How wrong we were.. and little did we know at that time that scholars and learned souls were steadily pursuing and uncovering more of the the rich history that has materialized into this film.. And we regret most heartily that we not privileged to meet them along the way and benefit from their academic scholarship..
….and then, then in 2011, more about Alix Combelle…and then, in response, from Our Gentleman of Perpetual Indian Jazz Archives (aka Naresh Fernandes the author of the very fine book Taj Mahal Foxtrot) shared with us Niranjan Jhaveri’s 1953 review of Alix’s performance in Calcutta.. but was this the only French Jazz Connection to our continuing story ?
Well, around the spring of 2011, the Finding Carlton Blog received the following letter from France:
I came across your Bluerhythm website, and was so delighted to see someone has done a documentary on Cartlon Kitto.
Stephane Dorin , in Calcutta 1997.. working on his Research
I met him 15 years ago in Calcutta, at the beginning of my PhD on jazz and rock culture in Calcutta. I also met Arthur Gracias, Amit Datta, Rubien Rebeiro, Anto Menezes and my friend Tuki from Krosswindz.
I have been to Calcutta around 10 times, the last one was in 2009.…. I am a social scientist in Paris,…..I mostly wrote in French, but I recently published an article on Jazz and race in colonial India, in Jazz Research Journal. It might be of some interest to you…This month also, I am publishing another article, of a larger scope, but in French, in the anthropology review L’Homme (issue 202, 2012).
But, wait,, it turns out that Stephane Dorin’s, scholarly work,Jazz and Race in Colonial Indiawas rich in detail and explored the nuances of culture that gave rise to the jazz culture that prevailed thereafter. His research included study of materials available from the Roy Butler Collection, in Chicago…from where arrived this image of a contract that lured an American jazzman to play in India.
Stephane also opined , quite succinctly, that although Bombay with its many Goan musicians had a rich jazz history, it was Calcutta , that in many ways was the “mothership”.. he says.. “Anglo-Indian musicians acted as go-betweens, passing down the theoretical knowledge of western harmony as well as the practice of western instruments to the generations of post-Independence India. Moreover, they were the first Indian musicians to perform jazz and blues standards in Calcutta or Bombay, around World War II. Thus, they played a major role in the diffusion of jazz and blues music in India.”
In our film, Finding Carlton, we share the story of Herb Flemming the “first Jazz Ambassador”who landed in Bombay in 1933, after a brief rest stop in Bombay, proceeded almost immediately to Calcutta and the Grand Hotel..
In the summer of 2011 we had the opportunity to meet with Stephane and get to know this passionate scholar who continues to have focus on the “Circulation of Jazz outside the United States”..
Maître de conférences à l’université Paris 8 Chercheur en délégation au Centre Européen de sociologie et de sciences politiques (CESSP) UMR 8209 CNRS/EHESS/Université Paris1-Panthéon-SorbonneCentre Pouchet, CESSP, 59-61 rue Pouchet, 75849 Paris Cedex 17
Stephane has been diligently working on uniting scholars from around the world who have looked at this ..and as his network has expanded it now spans to academics at various universities. He has had remarkable outreach and will hopefully be able to unite a worldwide team of authorities in seminal conference …where for the first time they will look at how jazz cultures were birthed and flourished outside the United States.. and hopefully as they pursue this discourse , there will be Finding Carlton (and) Uncovering the Story of jazz in India
In honor of the Canadian Friends of Finding Carlton – we rerun the Canada Promo as a lead up to the August 11th Screening at the Brampton Global Jazz and Blues Festival. Prior to the screening there will be a 45 minute presentation on the Journey of the Film and Big Bands in Bollywood..archival images, audio and video!