Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024. Photo: Gomantak Times

For jazz lovers in Goa, there’s a treat in store

Get set for a rare experience of live jazz classics from the era of the American big bands from Sweden’s Moving Big Band

If you thought that ABBA was Sweden's only band, think again! Apart from the '70s pop sensation, other genres of music and musicians are also found in the country. And, now one such band is all set to enthrall Goa.

The Swedish jazz ensemble, the Moving Big Band, which is currently touring South India by bus, will be performing at two concerts in Goa in the coming days.

Formed four decades ago, three of the original members are part of the current ensemble. GT Digital spoke to the band to learn more about it and what to expect at the upcoming concerts in Goa.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

Tell us a little about the members of the Moving Big Band.

A

The Moving Big Band is a 19-piece jazz ensemble, comprising Swedish musicians of all ages, ranging from 29 to beyond 80 years.

Made up of retired as well as working men and women, and also professional musicians, the band was formed over four decades ago and has performed at some of the most celebrated jazz concert venues in Scandinavia and all over Europe.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Presently three original members, Dr Donald Roberts (pianist), Hans Hall on guitar/percussion, and Lars Sjoestrand on trombone, are touring with the band.

The rest is a new lineup of musicians coming to India for the first time. The lineup keeps changing, and the core band members encourage other musicians who are specifically brought in for the travelling concerts due to their expertise.

The Moving Big Band is a 19-piece jazz ensemble of Swedish musicians.
The Moving Big Band is a 19-piece jazz ensemble of Swedish musicians.
Q

Is this the ensemble's first time in India?

A

The band, with a different set of musicians, previously performed in India in 2017, at the 15th East West Music and Dance encounter, hosted by the Bangalore School of Music.

And, in 2020, they came again on a fund-raising tour for the Christian Medical College Alumni Association, for doctors who work in challenging situations in rural India.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

The band was formed four decades ago. Can you tell us how it came about?

A

The band was formed in 1970 with two trombones, two saxophones, one piano, one guitar, one base and one drum.

The founder of the band is no more, and the retired cardiac surgeon-pianist, Dr Donald Roberts, who is 84-years-old, and of Indian origin, is the de facto leader.

He has been with the band since its inception with an unwavering spirit that brings these wonderful musicians to the shores once again.

They consider their music as an educational experience for music lovers and students of music, who otherwise would rarely be able to see a typical big jazz band in live action.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

What kind of music does the band perform, and what is its most famous track?

A

The repertoire covers jazz classics from the era of the American big bands that swayed the world. A rare and unique kind of musical experience these days.

The music repertoire includes classic compositions of the Big Band jazz era.

And, being Swedish, the setlist, of course, showcases upbeat jazz renditions of everyone’s favourite Swedish band, ABBA, as well as jazz legends Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Thad Jones and more. There is no specific most famous track.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

Do the musicians of the original group have any stories of the inception of the band? 

A

As mentioned, only three musicians are part of the original core group, and they have been encouraging new musicians who love to travel in a bus together and share their love for the classic compositions of the Big Band Jazz era.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

How long has the band been on tour, and which is the most memorable country that they have visited? 

A

The band arrived in India on February 1, 2024 in Chennai  and is heading from Mumbai to Sweden on February 20, 2024 .

The India tour is in a bus -- Moving Big Band on a bus. This year, the band is doing the South of India this February, and performing in Chennai (2 concerts), Vellore (1 concert), Bengaluru (3 concerts), Manipal (1 concert), Ooty (1 concert), Coonoor (1 concert), Coimbatore (1 concert) and Goa (2 concerts).

They will have 12 concerts in eight cities in India in the span of 20 days. All the concerts have been full house, and the musicians are overwhelmed by the response and love they are receiving in India.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

What are their expectations of Goa?

A

The band arrives in Goa on February 13 or 14  and will be performing for the first time, here; so the musicians are super excited!

They band will be performing on Thursday, February 15, 2024 at Kala Academy (Panjim) and on Sunday, February 18, 2024 at the outdoor lawns of  the 350-year-old Goan mansion, Silva Heritage in Benaulim, South Goa.

It will be two different experiences as most of their concerts have, so far, been held in closed auditorium spaces.

Swedish jazz band, the Moving Big Band, will perform in Goa on February 15, 2024 and February 18, 2024.
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Q

Any special plans for Goa? 

A

That will be a surprise once the band comes to Goa!

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