India New England – Mumbai-born pianist releases debut album

By SHUCHITA RAO | India New England | Issue Date: Jan 15, 2006

WATERTOWN, Mass. — Ramona Borthwick is very happy with the way 2005 worked out for her. The Mumbai-born pianist recently released her debut CD in Boston entitled “A New Leaf,” featuring original compositions rooted in the jazz tradition.

Despite the grounding in jazz, the compositions reflect influences that stem from places including India, Latin America and the United States. Borthwick was raised in a rich musical environment playing Western classical music before she developed a taste for jazz. Her father, Enoch Daniels, was born in a musical family and worked for the film industry in Mumbai, as an accordion player, composer and arranger of film music.

He introduced her to the world of music. “I started learning to play the piano at the age of six, and since I didn’t have my own piano, I waited at my school, St. Joseph’s (Bandra, Mumbai) to practice after school hours. The doors of the school would close and the sweepers would come in to clean up. Can you imagine sitting in a huge hall like a football field playing the piano? It was wonderful,” Borthwick says.

While her friends watched The Flintstones and cartoons on television, which had just come to Mumbai in the 1970s, she reveled in playing and practicing the piano.

“One of the hardest things in India was the lack of affordable pianos of good quality at that time. I finally got a decent
piano at age 14. By then, I was the assigned pianist at the school assembly and had started playing at the Sunday church services,” Borthwick says.

Borthwick moved to Ottawa in Canada in 1994 and to Boston in 1999. “I am looking forward to performing and the opportunity to meet other musicians,” she says. “I just want to keep making music, there’s so much to do, and so little time, I just feel blessed to be able to do it,” Borthwick adds.

Besides music, Borthwick is also a talented painter and artist. In addition, Borthwick has taught herself computer skills and designs web sites through her company, Leitmotif.

Borthwick will perform in Marion, MA on January 21, 2006. More information about the event and her CD A New Leaf can be found on her web site.

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