As you pursue your own music career, it’s important to look at some of the musical greats to see what they have done to be the “great” musician that they are. Understanding musical influences and how some music can influence your own is a critical component to your own success.
The material musicians listen to during the entirety of their lifetime has a huge impact on their whole approach to the art. While it’s obvious that they pick up certain musical elements from songs we listen to, there’s also the added component of the attitude and philosophies of the artist you absorb.
Keeping this in mind, we contacted some of the most active musicians in the Goan music scene and asked them to tell us about their Top 5 Bands/Albums/Songs. Read what they had to say!
Colin D’Cruz (Jazz Goa)
Colin D’Cruz got into music as a bass player with resident bands at some of the finest hotels in India. Ten years of six nights a week gigs, laid the foundation for a long and prolific career that took him through just about every genre of music, collaborating with all kinds of musicians, on assignments all over the world.
Colin currently produces music out of his own studio and continues to perform all over India as well as internationally.
My top 5 albums of all time:
1) Heavy Weather, by Weather Report
This is still my all-time favorite jazz album. The members of this band showed the world how the boundaries of jazz can be stretched.
2) The Chick Corea Elektric Band, by Chick Corea
Contemporary Jazz at its best!
3) Portraits of Cuba, by Paquito D’Rivera
Latin Jazz at its best.
4) Live at the Royal Festival Hall, by The John McLaughlin Trio
Indo-Jazz Fusion Masterpiece
5) Jazz from Goa, by Jazz Goa
My contribution to the world of Jazz.
Boney Alex Dias (K.I.G.S, INDIA, Bad Apple)
Boney Alex Dias is a living example of how music runs through the Goan spirit.
He does not come from a particularly musical family, but that hasn’t stopped him from earning a reputation as one of the most passionate guitarists in Goa. This resident of Santa Cruz won the ‘best guitarist’ award at the annual Battle of the Bands a few years back and two years ago released his first album, Tuzo Uggdas (Remembering You), a Konkani compilation that was “a tribute to my dad and all the lovely people of Goa.”
My top 5 albums of all time:
1) Surfing with the Alien, by Joe Satriani
This album was a revolution in guitar instrumental album at the time. It was an instant hit and Joe’s songs could be heard everywhere including F1 races on the Television. This album has a few of my all-time favorite guitar songs namely “Always with me, always with you”, “Circles” and “Midnight”. The Joe Satch bug bit me very badly and I was practicing all day and night to play his songs! I loved his articulation of notes and beautiful melodies that he came up with along which led to some very emotive guitar playing. To top it off, his tones are awesome. Definitely, this album had a big impact on my guitar playing.
2) Passion and Warfare, Steve Vai
A former student of Joe, Steve Vai improved as a guitarist by leaps and bounds since his association with Frank Zappa. He practiced guitar for 12 hours a day! All his hard work was there for everyone to see in his album “Passion and Warfare”. This album had it all: Screaming solos, Devilish sounds, weird sounding melodies and it showcased Steve’s stunning technical and musical wizardry. It was after listening to this album I realized why Steve was awarded the title of the “Devil’s guitarist”. This album has some amazing ballads, some of which are still the best in Rock and Instrumental guitar history. “For The Love of God” being a great example! Also some crazy sounding songs like “Ballerina” and the very first song on the album in which Steve plays a tearing solo on his school assembly while the teacher loses it, controlling the distortion! This guy is a real encyclopedia of Guitar and Guitar Techniques. I have learnt a lot from his music and this album.
3) Powers of Ten, Shawn Lane
Shawn Lane’s debut album. A true example of mind-boggling raw speed and intricate guitar licks. This guy earned a reputation of a monster shredder in no time. Moreover, he was amazingly different from the other guitarists at the time. His melodies, often simple and down-to-earth, had heart-hitting emotions. Some of his tunes really made me weep! “Epilogue for Lisa”, “Get you Back” and “Not Again” were highlights. Shawn Lane made me really think about the boundaries and limits that once can cross to be a unique guitarist! His licks and phrases, were ‘Un-Guitaristic” as I put it. His approach towards the guitar as really inspiring. Shawn passed away quite early, succumbing to his weight-related issues and the Guitar Fraternity had lost a Jewel of a person. Long live Shawn Lane!
4) Made in Japan, Deep Purple
The earliest album in this list of mine. Deep Purple became my favorite band after I heard their music which totally charged me up! Super-Guitar player Ritchie Blackmore: His lucks are classic and still ringing in people’s ears. Can any rock fan ever forget the intro to “Smoke on the Water”? Well, the songs on the album were one kinda hell breaking, I should say. “Highway Star” is my all-time favorite song. Then it had “Child in Time” which I would call an epic song. Blazing keyboard wizardry shown by my favorite Keyboard player, late Jon Lord. Some killer guitar solos all around. There was a time when no day of mine would pass without me listening to some Deep Purple. Till date, it’s my favorite band and it will continue to be! Was fortunate to see them live at Campal Stadium in 2001. It was a superb concert and totally changed my life! The then new guitarist Steve Morse who had replaced Ritchie Blackmore was an amazing replacement. I became an instant Steven Morse Idol. All team work, that’s what I drew from this great band!
5) Erotic Cakes, Guthrie Govan
This guitar player can mimic all the guitarist I have mentioned above. Can you believe this? A British guitarist, his voice so deep and his explanation of anything is Gothic. One of my favorite guitarists again, he’s so fluent in various styles of guitar and techniques that only he himself can better himself! The album has some mind blowing compositions like “Wonderful Slippery Thing”, “Sevens” and “Waves”. Guthrie is a modern-day guitar legend. He displays amazing technical mastery over the instrument. His playing is so vocal at times that it’s weird! An all-in-one package! I have picked up a lot of from this player!
Odin De Sa (Within Ceres, Feeding in Atlantis)
Odin Desa is a Guitarist, Composer and Producer from Goa. Best known for his heavy downtuned riffing and blistering solos, he represents a younger, hungrier scene that is just starting to take flight in Goa.
Feeding In Atlantis’s debut single “The Firefly,” from their upcoming album Sustaining The Kraken features Odin on guitar alongside Mumbai-based drummer Jairaj Joshi, bassist Aaron Braganza and vocalist Rahul Rao.
His other well-known band, Within Ceres are among the few metal bands in Goa and Odin de Sa says the intention was very much to have a steady footing. “The main goal was to have an elite metal band in Goa. We played a few competitions and had really good responses and since then, we’ve been giving it all we have. Competing across the country, the band released their debut single ‘State of Emergency’ in 2016. They are currently working on their debut album “Skyless”.
The Top 5 bands that influenced me as a musician:
1) Alter Bridge
Formed by the core members of Creed with vocalist and guitar player Myles Kennedy, Alter Bridge is an American / modern rock band. The guitar work on their album “Blackbird” was extremely inspirational to me back in the day. Mark Tremonti is one of the best rock guitarists out there and if you haven’t heard of AB you are missing out!
2) Animals as Leaders
Tosin Abasi the brainchild behind the project started off as a metal-core guitarist. He soon moved to study Jazz and form the instrumentally technical progressive metal act that is AAL. They were an eye opener to all musicians including me as to how JAZZ guitar could be incorporated into metal or progressive metal context. Using an 8 string guitar for extended chords, down tuned riffs and percussive licks the band is at an epitome of Technicality.
Misha Mansoor is no stranger in the Progressive metal realm, the man is one my biggest influences in tone shaping and songwriting. He had a simple ideology that said “if it sounds good to you, use it. Trust your ears” although that could be quite misleading to deaf people, what he was implying is to trust the sound in your head. Periphery as a band formed as his studio/bedroom project and today is one the best acts of the decade. Their latest studio release PIII is said to be their best effort till date, even though quite frankly I loved their first two full lengths the best.
The modern progressive metal act from the United Kingdom was the first few bands to pioneer the pseudo genre that is Djent (pronounced ‘Jent’). They incorporated polyrhythmic riffs and layered them with epic ambiences, the result was breathtaking! Vocalist Dan Tompkins delivered the challenging rhythmic music to the audiences which overall created the band we now know as TESSERACT.
5) Ovid’s Withering
A Deathcore act from the United States, Ovid’s Withering incorporates syncopated grooves that are derived from “Djent”. They layer them with orchestration and symphonic arrangements creating a story like feel throughout the track lists. The lyrical contents are based around Mythical stories that have dark or evil-ish plots and are delivered as deep gutturals / harsh vocals. Ovid’s gets a mention because I admire their work for they are the heaviest and scariest band till date!(in my opinion).
Well, that about wraps it up. Thank you for reading this! If you liked this article, please share it and subscribe to this blog for more!
~Shawn Kenneth Fernandes