1. Manuel Noronha conducts the Cruz Music Classes at Dhobi Talao. The third generation of the Noronha family to run the establishment, Manuel offers musical training in keyboards, drums and guitar.
2. Students Shubh Satrani and Anosh Pochara are “the best among the small guys”. 7-year-old Shubh stays at Chira Bazaar and attends B.J.P.C. High School, both close to the classes.
9-year-old Anosh stays at Cumbala Hill and studies at St. Mary’s School in Mazagaon. His mother had noticed Cruz Music Classes on her visits to the fire temple right opposite the classes.
3. Manuel’s granduncle Alexander de Noronha (pictured on the right) had first used the premises as a booking office for his band, the Alexandra Band.
Alexander left the premises to his nephew Cruz (pictured on the left), who was Manuel’s father. Cruz converted the establishment into a music class. Along with teaching music, Cruz wrote and acted in Goan dramas, playing the part of a girl regularly.
4. Manuel has inherited both his granduncle’s and daddy’s talents. His band, the Day Breakers, is in high demand at Carnival, socials, stage shows, weddings and navjotes. Recently, Manual’s interest in Egyptian history inspired him to write songs for a belly dance. He is looking out for two dancers for the production.
5. Cruz Music Classes are open every evening, Monday through Saturday. Those travelling by bus are sure to spot the establishment by its ornate upper grill, as Miss Bombaywalla did on her route home on the 126 bus.
Interiors: Cruz Music Classes
Alexandra Band, Botawalla Building, Girgaum Raod, Dhobi Talao.
Establishments in Dhobi Talao and Kalbadevi were appealing to Bombay’s Musical Public since the 1860s. Kalbadevie Musical Hall wanted singers and dancers of both sexes for a show. A Persian woman named Cooverbae auditioned and got the role. She sang Nelly Dale during the fourth-part of a grand performance. A good brass band was in attendance.
By the 1900s, brass bands like Alexandra Band still did good business. Universal Band next door could happily co-exist.
Now Universal Band is gone and Alexander de Noronha’s bungalow at Chira Bazaar was razed to the ground.
Cruz Music Classes remains the bastion of Goan music. Training all types of people, Gujaratis, Parsis, Sindhis, so that ‘there is always variety’.
Photos by ‘the best among the tall guys’, Hashim Badani.