“Jazz music is like a marriage, you need to love it”

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A jazz concert featuring Mexican singer Magos Herrera and Brazilian group Trio Afora was recently held in Delhi wherein the duo mesmerised the city’s music lovers with their Mexican and Brazilian classics, as well as soon-to-be released music compositions. 

Herrera is regarded as one of the most expressive, beautiful voices and most active vocalist in the contemporary Latin American jazz scene, while Trio Afora is a collective group featuring three talented Brazilian musicians, Fabio Gouvea, Felipe Brisola and Alex Kautz. The musicians are currently in India as summer faculty at the Global Music Institute, Greater Noida.

In an interview with The Peeper Times, the duo tells us about the richness of Indian music and the qualities that one needs to make a career in Jazz:

1.  Jazz minus bollywood (film) songs is often considered a thing for elites in India. In other words, it is said that jazz in India isn’t a common man’s music. Do you agree?

Magos Herrera: Let’s not talk about jazz, let’s just say there is music for many different purposes, music to entertain, music to explore, music that transcends and for all, there will always be an ear in every corner of the world.

Alex Kautz (Trio Afora): Unfortunately, jazz is considered music for elites not only in India but all around the world. India, however, is such a musical place that we have found audiences here very open to our music.

2.  You have been coming to India as a teacher as well as performer. Tell us about your Indian experience?

Magos Herrera:  I love India. I connect to her at so many different levels. I feel at home and every time I come, I discover new treasures in the generosity of heart, in the eyes of the people, in the ancient profound wisdom, the exquisiteness of arts and crafts, so many friends, so many life changing experiences…

Alex Kautz (Trio Afora): Our Indian experience has been great and we always look forward to come back. India has such a rich and beautiful culture, music, food and above all, the beautiful people.

You need to love music and be ready to make a lifetime commitment, because what you see onstage is just the tip of the iceberg

 3. What would you like to tell those students who want to make a career in this field? What are the qualities that one requires to pursue a career in jazz?

Magos Herrera: You need to love music and be ready to make a lifetime commitment, because what you see onstage is just the tip of the iceberg. Behind the curtains, there’s a lot of work. Then there is practice, managing, creativity to go along with the industry changes that have become more challenging for an artist. You need to have discipline not only to master your craft but also train your mind to stay focus.

Alex Kautz (Trio Afora): We would say that it is very important to be open, always keep learning and improving and, above all, have a positive attitude. It is very important to remember that it is a blessing to do what you love.

 4.  Can you tell our student readers about the career prospects in this profession?

Magos Herrera: Again, it depends on what you want, you can focus on being a performer, producer, educator, arranger, etc. There are many ways to connect with music, but you have to be ready to create opportunities if they don’t come to you. It is a competitive field and the industry is changing drastically. It is like a marriage, you need to love it, there will be challenges, doubts, questions, and you will have to decide every single day to be in it, reinvent yourself in it, grow in it, and be joyful in it.

Alex Kautz (Trio Afora): We think that like any career in today’s competitive world we need to put a lot of energy on becoming better professionals every day as well as being creative to create opportunities in this competitive market.

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