The word “Andaz” is a Hindustani word meaning “something new”. Andaz is 64 years old, established back in 1956. Andaz was formed by the esteemed Frankie Nanan, considered by many as a real life legend. He was a man well respected in the local Indian music industry and one of the Pioneers responsible for elevating local Indian music to higher standards in Trinidad. Starting with a simply hand organ, a drum set and a few percussion instruments, Andaz, under the leadership of Frankie, and the commitment of his family and band members were able to keep the name Andaz alive and make a dream into a reality. Unfortunately Frankie is no longer with us. He passed away on November 30th 2007, however his legacy lives on.
Andaz is the first Indian Music Band to include Calypso and Soca songs as part of their line up, making Andaz the first “crossover band” of Trinidad and Tobago. In so doing it has placed Andaz amongst the top five Crossover Bands in the country. Andaz started touring North America way back in 1985, first performing at Toronto’s Caribana then adding Montreal’s & Hamilton’s Carnivals to its list. In 1989 it took us to Lamport Stadium, Carnival City, the Apollo & numerous other clubs, as well as the road. The crowd went crazy to the sweet sounds & the sweet voice of the lead singer Sidney Wellington. Before going to the 1990 tour Asha released her first Soca Hold it. The 1990 tour started in Montreal Carifesta before returning to Toronto for Caribana. Caribana tours continued through the 90’s.
In the early 90’s Andaz did musical battles alongside bands like Shandileer, Blue Ventures, Atlantik, Traffik, Second Imij and other Cross-Over bands JMC Trevini, T&TEC Gayatones, SSL Melo Bugs, Dil-E-Nadan & D Rampersad Indian Art. Musical battlefields included Carnival Village, Toronto & Montreal, Ontario Place, Lamport Stadium, London, We Place, Soca Village, Guaracara Park, Union Hall, Reinzi Complex, Samar & Anand Entertainment Centres etc. In the latter 90’s Andaz did promotions for “White Magic”, “Dairy Dairy” & “Samba Beer” and backed up all artistes for the “National Chutney Mornach Competition”. The band has toured extensively to Canada and the United States over the past 34 years, as well as frequent visits to England, Guadeloupe, Suriname, and Guyana. In 1998 the band made a change in our operating philosophy to promote and market the service we provide by building and creating brand awareness.
This philosophy is represented in the release of the band’s first CD “Millennium Uprising” in 1999, followed by a second CD “Soca Invasion” in 2000. Other notable achievements during 1999 & 2000 were playing for Mastana Bahar’s prelims, quarterfinals, semi-finals & all stars shows. Andaz launched their 2001 CD “Smooth Style” a prelude to the band’s tour to North America in 2001 performing for Caribana in Toronto; Carifesta in Montreal; Vancouver & New York. In 2004 & 2005 Andaz performed at the Chutney- Soca Brass Festival and made in-roads into Port of Spain Carnival, playing live music on the road for Mas Band Poison who were then 10,000 masquaraders strong, only the second Indian Crossover band to achieve this. This was followed by playing for “The Dream Team” one of the offspring of Poison. The year 2005 also saw the production of the CD “Smooth Styles – II” & participation in “Chutney meets Rock” and “The Sugar & Energy Festival”.
In the ensuing years 2006 – 2008 Andaz pursued sponsorship to support it’s growth effort in continued production of music CDs & soliciting air play on the local media without much success. None the less the band completed the music for a CD called “Something New”, comprising of eight original tracks, 4 chutney songs and 4 Soca songs. Two of these original chutney songs were released in 2009 with a third on 2010. In 2007 Richard also assisted his brother Stephen in the launch of his band “Destiny” who’s members were mostly ex-members of Andaz living in Toronto. So started the transition to Generation 2 of the Andaz family.
The band experienced a great loss with the passing of Frankie on 30th Nov 2007 which followed a period of very low band activity, resulting in the departure of some former band members who moved on to join and form other bands. The rebuilding begun with Andaz again re-defining itself. In the latter half of 2009 Asha Nanan Ramrattan released an original Chutney Soca single – “Culture Fusion” which made the top 10 in the local charts. A second original chutney single Licks by Reshma Maharaj was also released.
The band continued its studio recordings in 2010 after entering the Chutney Soca competition for the first time with Culture Fusion. Andaz also took part in the “Battle of the Bands” The Band recorded 7 more songs with Rishta Naate making it to the top of the charts. Andaz re-entered the 2011 Chutney Soca Competition with the original renditions Katrina Gyul sung by Chris Doodal and D’ Stinger sung by Rajesh Sylvester. In May 2011 the band released its tenth single Tum Chayne Ho completing its CD “Unplugged”, in recognition of its Founder Frankie Nanan. It has since released two other CDs from the years 2012 – 2019 with 20 songs, a combination of covers and originals 50% of which has been recorded at Andaz Studios which is now open for all interested in recording.
Richard’s daughter Victoria Nanan has a central role in the band as it’s Ableton operator and thus begin the transition to Generation 3 of the Andaz family. Current members include frontliners – Reshma Ramlal; Rajesh Sylvester and Virgil Williams.