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Thursday, June 13, 2013


A brass band is a musical ensemble generally consisting entirely of brass instruments, most often with a percussion section. The Brass Band is normally headed by a Band Master dressed in vivid satin or silk.

A very vivid memory of my childhood in KGF is of Mr. Gallyot and his Brass Band. Mr. Gallyot had a 15 member Brass band.  This band was invariably engaged to play at all the Marwadi Weddings in KGF. Marwadi Weddings are always very grand affairs. The Bridegroom is treated like a Maharaja. He would be made to sit on a decorated white horse, and taken in a procession all over town, with Mr. Gallyot’s Band playing all the popular Hindi Film songs before he was taken to the Marriage Hall. The youngsters accompanying the Bridegroom danced and swayed to the music all along the way. 

 Mr. Gallyot was always dressed up like a Maharaja in a bright Satin Jacket and Pants with gold braid and trimming with a big silk turban on his head. He played the Saxaphone and led the Band. The Band Boys too were dressed in brightly coloured satin uniforms and looked very smart playing their various instruments such as the Kettle Drums, Bass Drums, Trumpets, Trombones, Cornets, Cymbals, Clarinets, Tubas etc.

They played all the old Military Tunes, Ditties, the latest Hindi Film Songs, latest Tamil Film songs etc. Every time we heard the sound of Mr. Gallyot’s Band, we’d rush out of the house to watch the procession pass by. In our childish minds we thought that Mr Gallayot was a very rich man since he looked so majestic and dressed so grandly!!!
When Brian, Mr Gallyot's son was big enough he too joined his dad in the Band and looked a "Junior Maharaja" in his resplendant satin clothes just like his dad. It was a pleasure to see the father and son playing the sax so beautifully. Brian later took over the band but sadly he is no more. R I P dear Uncle Gallyot and dear Brian. The memories of both of you are very vivid in my mind!!

 Mr. Gallyot’s Band was sometimes engaged to play at Hindu Funerals as well. However, on these occasions, Mr. Gallyot and his band boys would all dress appropriately in black which was suitable for the somber occasion. The Hindu Community always gave their loved ones a grand send off and Mr. Gallyots Band accompanying the funeral procession to the Crematorium or Burial Ground was considered ultimate Grandeur!! The people accompanying the Funeral procession to the Burial / Cremation Ground would dance and prance along in time to the music. Most of them would have had a good drink and it was the booze in them that kept them in high spirits to dance along the way!!


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