Banks returns to his roots

Himalayan News Service


Louis Banks is home again after 13 years and the musical genius says, “This is my first public performance in Nepal and we are absolutely thrilled.” The headliner of Jazzmandu Louis Banks was christened Dambar Bahadur Budaprithi.

Banks’ father moved to India to pursue a career in music and adopted the stage name George Banks. When a son was born to him, he named him after the jazz legend Louis Armstrong. Louis Banks has definitely managed to live up to his name, he is recognised today as the godfather of jazz in India.

Louis entered his teens with the trumpet and guitar but opted for the piano later. He was educated in Darjeeling and though, he has lived in India where he has led jazz into a new era, he recognises his roots in the Himalayas. In the late 60s, Banks performed at Soaltee Hotel and other places. To be here again after many years, Banks shares, “We would love to reach out to the music loving people of Nepal with open arms. The concept of Jazzmandu is very exciting and thrilling.”

Banks states that music has always been in his blood — his father was a music teacher and his grandfather Bhagat Bir Budaprithi composed the Nepali national anthem. Banks has toured India with the jazz great Dizzy Gillespie. He has played with musical maestros such as Zakir Hussain, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Shankhar Mahadevan, Fay Victor, Eddie Dainels, Yolande Bavan, Charlie Mariano, Charlie Byrd and more.

Banks specialises in live acoustic and electronic music traversing genres ranging from popular to jazz and Indo jazz fusion. If Banks had not been a musician, he would still have been an artiste, a fine artist. When he is not into music, he is trying his hand at impressionistic paintings.

It was in the 70s that Banks formed a band — Louis Banks Brotherhood. The Brotherhood will be performing today at the Hyatt Regency. Banks, who believes that a good rapport between band members is necessary, says that the band mates inspire each other to create new music. That is why they formed a brotherhood that believes in music, peace and harmony.

The Brotherhood led by Louis Banks has his son Gino Banks on drums, Sonia Saigal on vocals, Sheldon Shaun D’Silva on bass guitar, Niladri Kumar on sitar and Satyajit Talwalkar on tabla.