The Set List

S1 E9 | FULL EPISODE

Kavita Shah Quintet at BRIC JazzFest

Come to the foot of the stage with live performances, exclusive back-stage access and in-depth artist interviews with The Set List. In this episode we’ll hear vocalist and composer Kavita Shah explore her wide breadth of jazz influence stretching from Brazil, to Western Africa, and India. Her melodies respect the folk music that inspired them while bringing new sounds for a modern time.

AIRED: April 17, 2019 | 0:53:36
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

[ Instruments tuning ]

♪♪

My name is Kavita Shah,

and I'm a vocalist, composer and arranger.

So I'm playing tonight with my quintet,

and my set list is a mixture of different world music elements

brought into a modern jazz setting.

♪♪

We're doing a lot of new music tonight,

some jazz standards, some songs from Brazil,

some original compositions, a folk song from India,

but all kind of brought into a setting of modern jazz

and into a conversation and a language of modern jazz.

♪ Day is done

♪ Night is come

♪ Everyone

♪ Walking slowly from the sun ♪

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Oh, rest has begun

♪ Day is done

♪ Night has come

♪ Everyone

♪ Walking slowly

♪ From the sun

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Oh, rest has begun

♪ Lay-dun-dun dah

♪ Bah-dah din-don

♪ Duh-dah ding-din-don

♪ Dun-dah-dah-dah

♪ Doh-doh dah doh

♪ Lay-dun-dun dah

♪ Bah-dah dee-doh

♪ Duh-dah dee-doh

♪ Lah-doh lah-doh loh-lah

♪ Day is done

♪ Night has come

♪ Everyone walking slowly

♪ From the sun

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Oh, rest has begun

♪ Doh-dah

♪ Doh-dah

♪ Doh-dah

♪ Lo-lah

♪ Doh-doh-dah

♪ Doh-doh-dah

♪ Loh-lah

♪ Lo-lay-bah-boh-boh

♪ Dun-day-dun-dah

♪ Doh-day-doh-day-day

♪ Boh-lo-lay-doh boh-day

♪ Boh-lo-lay-doh un-doh-day

♪ Nn-day-day nn-doh-day, doh-doh-doh doh-day ♪

♪ Day-day

♪ Lo-doh-doh day-day

♪ No-lo-lay doh-doh-loh, day-day-day ♪

♪ No-lo-lay-day-day

♪ Lo-day-day-day

♪ Boh-doh-doh-day-nn-day-day

♪ Day-doh-doh-bah-day

♪ Bah-dah-dah

♪ Bah-dah-dah, nn-dah-dah-dah ♪

♪ Dah-dah-dah-day

♪ Bay-bay-bay-doh-bay-doh

♪ Nn-doh-day, nn-doh-lay, nn-doh-lay ♪

♪ Bah-dah-dah-dah

♪ Doh-bay

♪ Bay-bay-lo-bay

♪ Nn-loh-ay-oh

♪ Lay-day-loh

♪ Lay-lay-bay-bay

♪ Doh-lay, oh

♪ Lo-doh-day-do

♪ Lo-lo-lo-day-doh

♪ Lo-lo-lo-day-oh

♪ Lay-oh bay-oh

♪ Lay-oh bay-oh

♪ Lo-nn-do-day-day, day-oh-oh ♪

♪ Nn-do-day-day, bay-boh-bay-boh ♪

♪ Bay-boh-bay-boh

♪ Bay, bay-doh-boh-bay-bay

♪ Bay-doh-boh-bay-lay

♪ Bay-doh-boh-bay-day

♪ Bah-doh-bay-doh-bay-doh

♪ Bay-boh-lo-day- bay-doh-lo-day ♪

♪ Lo-day lo-day lo-day lo

♪ Bay-doh lo-day lo-day

♪ Lo-day lo-day ay

♪ Boh-day boh-day lo-day

♪ Lo-doh-day nn-day-doh-day

♪ Nn-day-do-day

♪ Boh-doh-doh-doh-day

♪ Nn-doh-doh-day

♪ Nn-day-doh-doh-day

♪ Nn-doh-doh-day

♪ Doh-doh-day-day-nn-day

♪ Day-day-nn-day-day-doh

♪ Bay-day-bay-day-day

♪ Bay-lo-lo-lo-lay

♪ Bay-doh-lo-lo-lay

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Applause ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Applause ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Day is done

♪ Night has come

♪ Everyone walking slowly

♪ From the sun

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Rest has begun

♪ Day is done

♪ Night has come

♪ Everyone walking slowly

♪ From the sun

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Oh, rest has begun

♪ Lay-dun-dun la, bah-dah ding-dong ♪

♪ Duh-dah ding-day-doh

♪ Bum-bah-dah-dah

♪ Day-doh-la-doh

♪ Lay-dun-dun la

♪ Bah-dah ding-dong

♪ Duh-dah ding-day-doh

♪ La-doh-la-doh

♪ Lo-lay-lay-lay

♪ Day is done

♪ Night has come

♪ Everyone

♪ Walking slowly

♪ From the sun

♪ One by one

♪ Evening born

♪ Oh, rest has begun

♪ Mmm-dah

♪ Mmm-dah

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Mmm-dah

♪ Mmm-dah

♪ Mmm-dah

♪ Mmm-dah

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ La-dah-dah-doh-doh

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Lo-la

♪ Doh-dah

♪ Doh-dah

♪ Lo-loo

[ Cheers and applause ]

♪♪

My roots are Indian.

My family is from India originally, but ultimately,

I'm a New Yorker in terms of my identity.

So to just present a jazz song or to just present

some sort of Indian jazz song would feel incomplete.

So everything that I do is trying to recreate

this identity, I guess,

and this childhood experience that everything is at the table

and everything has a place, and it has a place together,

and that's -- you know, that's who I am.

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Loo loo loo

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Spring is melting winter

♪♪

♪ Dew is sifting

♪ Through

♪ Here we are

♪ Staring at the scars

♪ Of the love we thought

♪ We knew

♪♪

♪ Buds are coming

♪ Slowly

♪♪

♪ Flowers

♪ Blooming, too

♪ Why

♪ Why then

♪ Must the raindrops cleanse

♪ All my throes

♪ And thoughts

♪ Of you

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

I want people to feel something.

I want people to walk away

and hopefully take something away with them

or look at their neighbor differently,

and if I can achieve even an ounce of that, that's my job.

You know, so I really perform for

that connection with humans.

I'd like you to meet the wonderful members of my band.

On piano, Julian Shore.

[ Cheers and applause ]

On guitar, Juancho Herrera.

[ Cheers and applause ]

On drums, Ferenc Nemeth.

[ Cheers and applause ]

On bass, Bam Bam Rodriguez.

[ Cheers and applause ]

We began with two compositions.

The first was a composition of mine

that you just heard called "Lohej,"

which is the name of the village in Gujarat in Northwest India

where my mother's family comes from.

My grandmother comes from there, and I've never been there.

Hopefully soon.

So it's a bit of imagined composition.

We continued "Rainwash" that I wrote some lyrics to.

The music was by Lionel Loueke,

who is a mentor and dear friend of mine.

He produced my debut album, "Visions,"

and this is a jazz festival,

so we're going to continue with a jazz song.

[ Chuckles ]

This is a jazz standard by Jimmie Rowles,

lyrics by Norma Winstone.

This is called, "The Peacocks."

♪♪

♪♪

♪ The windows

♪ Looked out on to a pattern never-ending ♪

♪ Of flowers

♪ And trees and little pathways all descending ♪

♪ To the garden far below us

♪ The pavilion in the sunlight

♪ Where the peacocks proudly grace ♪

♪ The scene

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪ The vision

♪ A timeless place

♪ Another way of living

♪ You moved in oh, so close

♪ I really thought that you were giving ♪

♪ I allowed myself a moment

♪ To believe that you could need me ♪

♪ To reflect upon what might

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ The summer sky

♪ I saw reflected in the colors of your eyes ♪

♪ But somehow I

♪ Could never peel away the layers of disguise ♪

♪ I'm drowning now

♪ I'm slowly sinking in a sea of blue and green ♪

♪ Where what you are is never seen ♪

♪ How can anybody know you

♪♪

♪ Anybody know you

♪ You

♪ You

♪ I still hear

♪ The ringing of the church bells in the morning ♪

♪ The peacocks

♪ Still calling out their sad and bitter warning ♪

♪ Beauty is only an illusion

♪ Here your truth is an intrusion ♪

♪ A mirage is all it's ever

♪ Been

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ The summer sky

♪ I saw reflected in the colors of your eyes ♪

♪ But somehow I

♪ Could never peel away the layers of disguise ♪

♪ I'm drowning now

♪ I'm slowly sinking in a sea of blue and green ♪

♪ Where what you are is never seen ♪

♪ How can anybody know you

♪♪

♪ Anybody know you

♪ Know you, ooh

♪ I still hear

♪ The ringing of the church bells ♪

♪ The peacocks

♪ Still calling out their sad and bitter warning ♪

♪ Beauty is only an illusion

♪ Here your truth

♪ Is an intrusion

♪ A mirage is all it's ever been ♪

♪ A mirage

♪ Is all

♪ It's ever been

♪ Ever been

♪ Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo doo-doo

♪ A mirage is all it's ever been ♪

♪ A mirage

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Ever been, ever been

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

We'll sing tonight "Oju Oba",

which is an Afro-Brazilian song,

where a lot of the lyrics are in Yoruba,

a West African language, and it means,

"The Eyes of the King," or, "The Eyes of the Ruler."

But to me, this song is so much

a part of Afro-Brazilian culture,

and I only know that because I've lived in Salvador.

I've spent time in Afro-Brazilian...

The houses of the religion in Salvador.

I spent time with the people.

I speak the language.

So when I'm singing this song, I'm not just thinking about,

"Okay, it's a beautiful song," or, "I love singing it,"

but the stories are always there,

are always kind of embedded in the songs.

So I carry that with me.

I'd actually love your participation in this next tune.

So I'm going to sing a line for you,

and we'll have you sing it back to us,

and let's see how it goes.

And you get a grade from "A" to "F".

Just kidding.

Okay. Very simple.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Audience repeats ]

That was great.

A, right? A.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Audience repeats ]

Okay, it's [singing in foreign language]

[ Audience repeats ]

Great.

So we're going to put them together.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ All singing in foreign language ]

Great. We' just going to do that for a few times.

Let's try it.

♪♪

[ Singing in foreign language ]

With me.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

Last time.

[ Singing in foreign language ]

♪ E bonito lhe ver

♪ E tanto prazer que seu canto me da ♪

♪ Vou seguir sua luz, sua forca conduz ♪

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ E bonito lhe ver

♪ E tanto prazer que seu canto me da ♪

♪ Vou seguir sua luz, sua forca conduz ♪

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ Salvador vai se ascender

♪ Sua estrela vai brilhar

♪ Meu olhar resplandecer

♪ Reluzente Oju Oba

♪ Ilumine o meu viver

♪ Chegou

♪ Xango Aganju Oba chegou

♪ Foi povo de Zambi quem chamou ♪

♪ Eu quero ir com voce

♪ Chegou

♪ Xango Aganju Oba chegou

♪ Foi povo de Zambi quem chamou ♪

♪ Eu quero ir com voce

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

♪ E bonito lhe ver

♪ E tanto prazer que seu canto me da ♪

♪ Vou seguir sua luz, sua forca conduz ♪

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ E bonito lhe ver

♪ E tanto prazer que seu canto me da ♪

♪ Vou seguir sua luz, sua forca conduz ♪

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ Afoxe Oju Oba

♪ Salvador vai se ascender

♪ Sua estrela vai brilhar

♪ Meu olhar resplandecer

♪ Reluzente Oju Oba

♪ Ilumine o meu viver

♪ Chegou

♪ Xango Aganju Oba chegou

♪ Foi povo de Zambi quem chamou ♪

♪ Eu quero ir com voce

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Chegou

♪ Xango Aganju Oba chegou

♪ Foi povo de Zambi quem chamou ♪

♪ Eu quero ir com voce

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

♪ Eu quero ir com voce

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Audience repeats ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you, guys.

You're wonderful, wonderful singers.

Thank you.

Jazz is improvised music.

Jazz is freedom.

Jazz is a commitment to being in the moment,

to being your fullest self,

to discovering your fullest self and being your fullest self.

I think one of the greatest blessings

and curses of being a jazz musician

is you're always improving.

You're always on this trajectory where it's never good enough.

You kind of get to a goal, or you get to a place,

and you see the next horizon and the next plateau,

and there's this commitment to always searching

and always striving.

There's no such thing as being done,

and that's also the beauty of it, too,

because you're always discovering, always growing.

This next song is another composition I wrote in Hawaii.

Has anybody been to Hawaii?

I was...

Some more enthusiasm, I would think.

[ Laughter ]

So anyway, this is a beautiful place in Maui called Hana,

and you have to take a very long, twisty road to get there,

and I wrote this song on the highway to Hana.

It's called, "Highway to Hana."

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Long road

♪ High tide

♪ Wondering if I

♪ Will find

♪ The answers I seek

♪♪

♪ Will they come to me?

♪♪

♪ Full moon

♪ Tall grass

♪ Sun still setting at my back ♪

♪♪

♪ Doesn't last

♪♪

♪ Now is the time

♪ To remember

♪ The time that's gone

♪♪

♪ And now is the time

♪ To sing

♪ Our favorite song

♪♪

♪ Oooh

♪ It goes on and on

♪ It goes on and on

♪ Loo-loo-loo-doo-doo-doo-doo

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪ Now is the time

♪ To remember

♪ The time that's gone

♪♪

♪♪

♪ And now is the time

♪ To sing

♪ Our favorite song

♪♪

♪ Oh, it goes on and on

♪ And on and on and on and on

♪ And on and on and on and on

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Doo-doo-doo-doo, oh, ooh-ooh

♪ Dee-dah doo-doo-doo

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you so much.

Julian Shore on the piano.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Juancho Herrera on guitar.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Ferenc Nemeth on the drums.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Bam Bam. Bam Bam on the bass.

[ Cheers and applause ]

I think to be an Indian-American female

vocalist in jazz is already political,

and to be able to sing music

that's both very complex on the one hand

and also bringing an influence from Afro-Brazilian religion

or folk songs or folk music from around the world,

I think that's just being me.

I mean, it's inevitably a political statement.

♪♪

For me, music is nothing without other people,

without an audience or without other people to share it with.

Music, for me, is fundamentally part of community

and part of connecting,

and more and more, in the times that we're living in,

it feels more and more necessary to have that connection,

and I think I feel a bit more of a responsibility

in what I do than, you know, a few years ago.

I feel a deeper sense of...

I have a job to do.

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you so much.

Thank you. Thank you.

We have one more for you tonight.

Does anybody here celebrate Diwali?

Anybody celebrating Diwali?

Yes! So happy Diwali.

For those of you that don't know what Diwali is,

it's the Hindu Festival of Lights,

or the Hindu New Year, and it's today.

So happy Diwali to everybody.

I'm not sure if I would call myself a Hindu.

I'm not sure if this is the place to talk about that,

but I grew up with some influences

from the religion for sure,

and there's always something special and cultural

about starting over, starting a new leaf.

So I hope whatever wishes we have for the world

and for our community and for our city,

we can have this moment of hope and regeneration,

and so I'd like to wish you all happy Diwali.

[ Applause ]

Thank you.

And this is a song that, appropriately,

my mom used to sing to me when I was a child.

It's a folk song in Gujrati, and it's saying,

"Little sparrow, little sparrow, come play.

Don't say goodbye. Don't leave. Stay and let's play."

This is "Chaki Ben."

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Singing in foreign language ]

[ Whistling ]

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Aavasho ke nahi

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Whistling ]

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

♪♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

♪♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Besavane paatalo, suva ne khaatalo ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi

♪ Besavane paatalo

♪ Besavane paatalo

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

♪ Odhavane pinchha apish thane, apish thane ♪

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Whistling ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Whistling ]

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

♪ Chaki ben, chaki ben

♪ Mari sathe ramava

♪ Aavasho ke nahi, aavasho ke nahi ♪

[ Cheers and applause ]

Thank you, Julian Shore,

Juancho Herrera, Bam Bam Rodriguez,

Ferenc Nemeth.

My name is Kavita Shah.

Thank you so much!

Thank you.

Thank you.

♪ Ever been

♪ Ever been

♪ Do-do-doo-doo

♪ A mirage is all it's ever been ♪

♪ A mirage

[ Vocalizing ]

[ Vocalizing ]

♪ Ever been, ever been

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