PMB band celebrates 50 years of passion for music

2014-11-11 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG dance band, The Nu Caballeros, has celebrated 50 years of keeping toes tapping and providing music for dance lovers in the city.

The Witness met with the band members this week and uncovered a story of sacrifice, passion and family ties that keeps the music flowing.

The band, originally known as the Gay Caballeros, was started in 1959 by key founders, the late Raymond Joseph (saxophonist) and Vinod Jadoo (base guitar). Today, Jadoo’s son, Vishad, maintains links with the band and helps out as a sound technician.

Mano Pillay, on keyboard and vocals, is following in the footsteps of his brother, Boya, who was the drummer when the Caballeros first started.

The longest-serving member still with the band is drummer Yugan Moodley. He says he is keeping up a family tradition as his mother was the drummer in the Odeon Orchestra that played classical Indian music at weddings and other functions.

The glue that keeps the band together is manager Anthony Peter, who was part of the original group. Peter started off his music career in the fifties managing a band called the San Tropez, before joining the Caballeros.

Band members are all self-taught musicians with day jobs. “Passion” and “love” for music are words that frequently crop up as they talk about their involvement with the band.

Pillay’s passion motivated him to build a music room at the back of his house, where the band meets for their practise sessions once and sometimes twice a week. Edwin George, who alternates as saxophonist with Krish Rajah, started formally studying the theory of music at the age of 54.

Vocalist Reggie Moodley said it is definitely their love for music that keeps them going.

“It’s not easy, and you have to be disciplined. It means weekly practise sessions and playing over the weekend, sometimes both on a Friday and Saturday night, and getting home between two and three in the morning. I have to say a very big thank you to our wives, children and extended families who allow us this time and understand that this is what we love doing,” Moodley said.

The band will be holding a 50th anniversary dinner dance this month to mark the occasion and to pay tribute to all the musicians, past and present, who have been part of the Caballero family. The function will take place on November 22 at the Blind and Deaf Society Hall in Olympia Way, Newholmes.

For more information, please call Anthony

at 082 795 5558, Reggie at 083 446 2393 or Mano at 082 451 9706.

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