The Sant Andreu Jazz Band from Barcelona, Spain is in the city to ring in Windmills’ 10th anniversary. Founder Joan Chamorro talks about how his band got started

The Sant Andreu Jazz Band from Barcelona, Spain is in the city to ring in Windmills’ 10th anniversary. Founder Joan Chamorro talks about how his band got started

Think Sister Act and Glee minus the drama of High School Musical, and you have the Sant Andreu Jazz Band from Barcelona. Joan Chamorro, a music teacher in Barcelona, began the band as a project to introduce young musicians to the wonders of classical jazz. That was 16 years ago. Today the 22-member Sant Andreu Jazz Band tours the world and were even the subject of a documentary film!

In India for the first time to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Windmills Craftworks, Joan regrets that the whole band could not make the trip — some members are as young as seven and the travel arrangements to a foreign country would have been a logistical nightmare. “It’s our first India trip and we are excited. Though only 11 of us have come, we really hope the voices of Èlia Bastida, Alba Armengou, Koldo Munné, Alba Esteban and Joan Marti shine,” says Joan.

Joan Chamorro

Joan Chamorro
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With members ranging in age from seven to 21, the band employs an unusual approach to learning music — the members coach each other, honing their mastery of the genre. “My methodology is based on trying to improve and finding the most natural way to learn this language, which is music. Listen, repeat, imitate, sing and enjoy what we do every day,” says Joan, adding that though individual work is important, collective work is necessary too. “The motivation to play in a group, to see how your classmates improvise and have fun with it, is all a part of the learning process. Make music and share it with the musicians you play with and with the public.”

Joan, who started the band to get children interested in jazz, says he was 18 when he first came across that genre. “I was studying music, but I did not like the way it was taught. So when I began my own band, we started with jazz from the beginning. My passion for jazz and teaching have grown in the past 40 years. It has become my way of life and makes me completely happy,” says the 59-year-old, who plays the saxophone, clarinet and double bass, having taught himself the latter.

Apart from classics by Nina Simone and Julie London, the Sant Andreu Jazz Band also has swing, bebop, soul and Latino music in their repertoire. “Music is powerful,” says Joan, recounting how the mother of a child with ADD waited to meet him after their concert. “She told me her son found it difficult to stay still or concentrate for more than a few minutes. Yet, this child remained entranced by our young performers on stage for over an hour. It was nothing short of miraculous for her and an emotional moment for both of us.”

The Sant Andreu Jazz Band

The Sant Andreu Jazz Band
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Talking about A Film About Kids and Music (2011) by director Ramón Tort, Joan says ‘it reflected the reality of that moment’ and that the two musicians who appear in the film — The Armengou sisters — are still in the band. “I have learned how to teach better and manage things more wisely; our median age is now 14 years. We all learn over time and get better at managing musical and non-musical aspects of life. That is an important characteristic of this project.”

The Sant Andreu Jazz band will be playing at Windmills on Sept 23, 24 and 25 from 9.30pm. For tickets priced at ₹1000 (₹500 redeemable for F&B) and ₹2000 (₹1,000 redeemable for F&B) go to https://windmills-india.com/#music

Joan Chamorro

Joan Chamorro
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 



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