Louiz Banks

The Pioneer of Jazz in India


Louiz Banks, often referred to as the ‘Godfather of Indian Jazz’ and composer of the famous Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, is a music composer, jazz musician, record producer, keyboardist and singer.

Louiz developed an interest in Western music at the age of thirteen and started playing the guitar and the trumpet. His exceptional talent and passion for jazz led him to explore the genre further, ultimately establishing him as a pioneer of jazz music in India.

After working with his father’s band for three years in Kathmandu, he shifted back to Calcutta in 1971 and formed his band The Louis Banks Brotherhood with singer Pam Craine and saxophonist Braz Gonsalves.

In 1977, he joined R. D. Burman’s troupe where he got introduced to different world music genres and he was able to thrive in the rich music scene.

In 1979, along with Goan saxophonist Braz Gonsalves, he formed the Indo-Jazz Ensemble, composing music on Indian classical scales and Jazz rhythms, incorporating Indian instruments like ghatam and thavil.

He also formed a group called Sangam teaming up with Carnatic classical vocalist, Ramamani, and together they have performed at about 60 concerts all over Europe and participated in festivals.

In 1988, he composed the tunes to the iconic Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, a short film on national integration for Doordarshan, which became India's sole broadcaster.

He collaborated with Shankar Mahadevan, Sivamani and Karl Peters and formed a new band called Silk.

Louiz has performed at various concerts and with well-known jazz artists such as Radha Thomas, Joe Alvares, Ravi Shankar, Taufeeq Qureshi, and Niladri Kumar among others.

Apart from his remarkable jazz performances, Banks is also a prolific composer and arranger. He has composed music for various genres, including jazz, fusion, Indian classical, and film scores. He composes music soundtracks for theatre, stage & feature films, jingles, corporate anthems, audiovisuals & documentaries as well.

Awards and accomplishments

Awards and accomplishments

  • Louiz’s collaboration as co-producer, arranger & pianist for the album Miles from India, was nominated for the Grammy Awards in the ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ category in 2008.
  • His collaboration as a featured keyboardist on McLaughlin’s fusion album Floating Point was also nominated for the Grammy Awards in the ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ category in 2008.
  • Louiz has composed over 1,000 ad jingles, including the classic Dairy Milk asli swad zindagi ka tune.

Why Louiz Banks ?

Louiz Banks has been instrumental in popularising jazz music in India and has been a significant contributor to the growth of the Indian jazz scene. He has performed at prestigious jazz festivals around the world and has played a crucial role in introducing Indian audiences to the beauty and complexity of jazz music.

Throughout his illustrious career, Louiz Banks has left an indelible mark on the Indian music scene. His unique style, virtuosity on the piano, and his relentless pursuit of excellence have made him a legendary figure in Indian jazz music. He continues to inspire and influence musicians and music lovers alike with his extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft.

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