Billy Weir

UK Based Drummer

India Tour Report

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We’re back! And super tired!!!

Wow what an incredible trip, with some fantastic gigs, wonderful people and incredible sights. We played in a multitude of settings from huge festival stages to cosy jazz clubs to someone’s front room! Each venue imposing a new angle to approach John Law’s fantastic music.

As for the country, it is absolutely barmy and incredible! However, before mentioning the wonderful bits, I feel it is important to acknowledge that we saw a very sheltered version of India. Live jazz and access to music education, especially from the west, definitely seems to be the reserve of the rich or at least upper middle class. Though this is also a problem in the UK, it is far more apparent in India. A lot of the restaurants we were playing in cost five times more than your average restaurant. It would have been very easy to go there and live a slightly blinkered existence thinking that everything is wonderful, but for many living there that is far from the truth.

However, we did manage to escape our fancy live music venue bubble and see some fantastic places. I think my two highlights were seeing scaffolders assembling a frame from just bamboo and rope with no harness. It was both incredible to see their balance and acrobatics and petrifying! The other is the Taj Mahal which is the most beautiful building I have ever seen. All of us were lost for words when we arrived in the gardens.

I would like to thank firstly John Law for the opportunity to go there. When John initially proposed the idea I thought he was crazy and that it would never happen. Yet down to his superhuman work ethic I’m now writing this piece having just returned from a tour of India! Secondly I’d like to thank John’s agent Mary James, who put in a hell of a lot of work into making the tour possible. Thanks to James and Ashley who are a hoot to play with and great to hang out with. Also thanks to Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, and the British Council who helped fund the tour.

Author: Billy Weir - UK Based Drummer

Billy is a freelance musician performing regularly as a band leader and a sideman. After graduating from South West Music School and National Youth Jazz Collective, Billy enrolled on the Jazz Course at Birmingham Conservatoire. Whilst studying there he has received tuition from artists such as Mark Turner, John Taylor and Jeff Ballard. In 2014 Billy was awarded the "Tony Levin Drum Prize" for the "most swinging drummer" and performed at the UK National Drum Fair alongside Jean Toussaint and Arnie Somogyi. Billy is presently an in demand sideman performing/recording all across the uk with artists such as renowned pianist, John Law. He has also recorded for the BBC series "Father Brown".

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