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The Big Chill Goa
It was three days of musical intoxication, spiritually elevating for some and a crazy rave for others. The music that boomed from the speakers hit the waves and bounced back to the shore. Sounds from simultaneous performances going on in various tents interspersed, evoking a freakish energy in people. Venue and concert melded almost magically, as the Big Chill unfolded in Goa.

The array of eclectic performances spanned over the three days of the festival was a feast of sorts. Who gets to see people like Sheila Chandra, DJ Jose Padilla, DJ Norman Jay, Shri, and Vikku Vinayakram, all at the same event? We caught up with the founder DJ Pete Lawrence and world musician Sheila Chandra, who gave an exotic vocal performance.

Pete Lawrence
The Big Chill was Peteís passion for music coming alive. It all began in 1994 as a Sunday chill-out and social club at Londonís Union Chapel. He was very thrilled about playing in India and hereís Pete giving us the low-down on the Big Chill and its evolution.

The Record: How did bringing the Big Chill to India come about?

Pete Lawrence: I was invited over in late 2005 by a woman who had a vision to bring the Big Chill to India as she said the country had experienced nothing like it before. We could both see the incredibly exciting potential of a unique event with its own ethos and a country which was growing and moving forward very fast on a creative level. And we liked each other and felt we wanted to work together too, which is very important for me. The Big Chill wasnít born out of a commercial plan, it was me and Katrina (Larkin) inviting a bunch of our friends to a Sunday afternoon chill in north London, and then to a small camping weekend in the Black Mountains. So we naturally respond to people and ethos above a desire for commercial exploitation. Itís all about bringing people together for me.

TR: Which are the Indian musicians who interest you?

PL: Iíd cite Ananda Shankar and AR Rahman as my two greatest Indian musicians; in fact The Big Chill promoted the only UK show Ananda ever played a couple of years before his untimely death. Iím currently enjoying Gem Tones, south Indian saxophone supreme Kadri Gopalnath, Ananda Shankarís Greatest Hits and the late Gopal Shankar Misraís album from a few years ago on Real World. Iíve just finished an Easter show for BBC Radio 2 and included the startling track Water Down The Ganges by Prem Joshua and Manish Vyas, which I acquired on a recent trip to Goa. We would have loved Prem Joshua to play, but he was already booked up; so I was quick to confirm him for the UK festival this August. And Iím also enjoying Raghu Dixit, who played in the Goa line-up this year.

TR: Which is the one artiste you havenít featured in any of your Big Chill events but would like to?

PL: Very hard to pick one as we have a shortlist of hundreds! Ry Cooder, Pat Metheny, Abdullah Ibrahim, Steely Dan for starters...

TR: Any contemporary artistes you are listening to currently?

PL: Where to start? I have a huge pile of CDs taking over my kitchen as we speak! The Bird and The Bee from California is constantly on my CD player at the moment; fresh, summery sounds featuring the amazing voice of Inara George, daughter of the late great Lowell George; Paul Hartnoll from Orbital has his first, ambitious solo project The Human Condition being released in summer; thereís whole load of nu-folk coming out of England that Iím enjoying ~ artists such as Ellis Island Sound, Tunng, Memory Band and Findlay Brown, an extraordinary Icelandic female singer Hafdis Huld, Tom Middletonís new Amba material, his first original album in over a decade which weíre releasing on Big Chill Recordings and thereís also The Bombay Dub Orchestra project, just released on Six Degrees Records too.

You can read the rest of our feature on The Big Chill Goa in the May 2007 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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