Banks fine-tunes his magic

Published on May 25, 2004 01:43 PM IST

Louis Banks could well be on his way into The Guinness Book Of World Records for composing almost 7,000 jingles in 10 years.

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PTI | ByNishiraj A Baruah

You would probably not know Dambar Bahadur Budaprithi. So, what about Louis Banks? Certainly, this flamboyant jazz musician needs no introduction. Often called the Godfather of Indian Jazz, he may soon muscle his way into The Guinness Book Of World Records. After all, within a span of 10 years he has composed as many as 7,000 jingles. “The only problem is that I have not kept a record of all the jingles to provide as evidence,” sighs the man behind the lilting, haunting, musical score of Mera Bharat Mahan that made it big on the small screen.

But jingles are just a small part of his musical repertoire. He has done music for Bollywood films, even as he tours with Silk, the world music band, all over the globe. He has just got himself a new red keyboard. “It adds to stage presence,” he smiles, as he tunes it up for a show in New Delhi.

And stage presence is important for a showman, of course, whose trademark cap sits on his head like a badge.

But he remains essentially a jazz pianist. “Jazz is about improvisation. It lets me build music layer by layer,” he says. He is sensational at live acoustic and electronic performances on the keyboard and also as a composer. Thanks to him, commercial jazz has gained a lot of respect now.

Banks has other interests as well. Painting, for instance. Brought up in Darjeeling, he loves to paint mountainscapes. “I am a fan of Vincent van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and the Dutch masters,” he says. That then explains the visual quality in his music. 

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