Monday, August 3, 2009

The Heartbeat of KGTS Mega Musical Show ‘Tiatr ani Tiatrist’

The Heartbeat of KGTS Mega Musical Show ‘Tiatr ani Tiatrist’
- By Augusto & Gracy Morais

JUJU (Saxophone) – AGNELO (Trumpet) – LUIS (Trumpet)
SUCCOUR (Lead Guitar) – TONY (Music Conductor) - FAUSTINO (Trumpet)

To be Goan is to love music. They say, we breathe music, we talk music, we live music, we dine music and the list goes on endlessly. Goa, the land of sun, sea, churches, temples and beaches has been blessed in abundance with a talent for Music, the lifeline and a strong base of folklore, culture and forms of dances. Any reason, any occasion is just good enough to have music, be it a party, feast, death, or just anything. The best source of entertainment is not just skin deep, but the soul of Goans living in Goa and any part of the world.

Goa has produced many praiseworthy and leading musicians including Chris Perry, Remo Fernandes, Braz Gonsalves, Anthony Gonsalves, Sebastian D’Souza, Frank Fernandes, Johnny Baptist, Emiliano Da Cruz and many others who have exhibited their talents worldwide. Some of our musicians have been pacemakers in the Hindi Film industry. Many others have excelled in this field and are mostly sought after for orchestras, Goan bands, parties, etc. Some have contributed manifolds for the Konkani tiatr.

The writers had a rare opportunity to talk with the cream of the naturally-gifted and outstandingly talented musicians of the tiatr fraternity, some locally engaged and a few who have specially flown to be a part of the never ever before KGTS Mega Musical extravaganza, “Tiatr Ani Tiatrist”:

AGNELO DIAS, resident of Fontainhas, Panjim, learned solfegio in the
Immaculate Church School. Originally a violinist, Agnelo was inspired to
switch over to trumpet when he watched Chris Perry in his musical “Novro
Mhozo Denvchar”. He trained under Maestre Santana Cota of Santa Cruz.
Agnelo played his first tiatr in 1974 in Santa Cruz. A recipient of 21 Best
Musician Award from the all Goa Tiatr Competition organized by Kala Academy,
Agnelo journey in the tiatr field has been full of adventures,
experimentations and gratification. He has played more than 2000 tiatrs in
a career span of 25 years and also rendered music to as many as 25
audiocassettes. As a token of his appreciation two years ago, he had a
unique celebration of his 50 years in this world and 25 years of service to
the tiatr world; he felicitated ten leading persona of the Konkani Stage and
literature for their immense contribution in their respective fields. Some
these were Luis Cota, Domingo Caitan, Cesar D’Mello, Ratna Govekar, Diana,
Luis Barbosa, Brazinho Soares.

When asked about the deterioration of brass music and musicians in Goa,
Angelo commented that the techno music can never replace the brass music, he
soul of Latino music we enjoy in Goa. Continuing he stated that “one cannot
be forced into playing brass instruments, this has to come from within. It
is easier to sequence the music, but then you are cheating the people and
also yourself; Also brass instruments cannot be learnt overnight; you need a
lot of perseverance, continuous regime and more importantly minimum 1-2
hours practice session every day”. Talking to him about the pathetic
financial gains which time and again depresses the brass section of Goa and
discourages acutely the budding talent for brass music, Agnelo confided that
this profession earns him approx a lakh and a half rupees annually only on
tiatrs besides the other contracts. He said, dedication and perseverance
are the magic words, which work in any field and so also in the music or
tiatr world. More and more youngsters are lured by the techno music and
sequencing which makes our musicians more of dummies and imitators. Music in
any form is good, but most important is the sincerity in doing any job.”
Perhaps this should show the way and encourage many budding Goan musicians
to embrace this grand brass section of music.

JOSE ANASTASIO FERNANDES, popularly known as Juju, learned music with his
father Roque Jacinto Fernandes, who played violin and piano in the Benaulim
Church. Although now one of the most sought after musician of Goa, Juju
started his work in the music world as a Crooner for the AVC
(Assolna-Velim-Cuncolim) Pops. He took up playing Saxophone in 1970. Little
does anyone know that Juju traveled to Kuwait in 1970 as a part of a Circus
Company and worked with them for 2 and half months in Kuwait. He then
traveled to Iran and worked there for 2 years before traveling back to Goa
in 1972. While in Goa he formed his own band group, Hard rocks with a few
musicians from Goa. His career graph shows landmarks of Hotel Ganpat in
Madras for 1 year, and then another hotel in Kerala for 5 years. Later he
came back to his motherland and regrouped his band Hard Rocks, and
occasionally substituted for Fidelis for some Konkani dramas. The demand for
brass music and dearth of brass musicians in Goa prompted Juju to switch to
tiatrs. Also, the techno music changed the scene of music in Goa and so
also the tastes of Goans who demanded techno music for parties, weddings,
anniversaries, etc. However, this turned into a blessing in disguise for
the tiatr world, Juju and His Boys have taken the tiatrs by a storm; ask the
tiatrists and the audience, they are a witness to his work.

LUIS RODRIGUES, a multi-faceted and multi-talented musician hails from
Ribandar. Luis learned solfegio under the famous Moira priest, Fr. Fremiot
D’ Souza who was a chaplain in Chimbel Chapel during the period 1952-55. A
self-learner of violin from the Tutor books, Luis mastered the art and was a
Church Choir Master for more than 13 years. Simultaneously he self trained
himself under Fred& Pitt tutorials and excelled the art of playing trumpet
within 3 years. A born natural and die-hard for music, Luis works zealously
for his passionate hobby and profession. He played his first tiatr in the
year 1968 in Merces. He along with a few equally gifted musicians formed the
group, Band Azavedo that dominated the Bardez, Tiswadi talukas of Goa for
nearly 15 years. Later, Luis moved to form his own brass band and continued
to offer valuable support to many dramas at the village level and
professional stage. Last 5 years saw him teaming up with another outstanding
and class musician, Luis Cota, the son of eminent Santana Cota who trained
many musicians of the soil. Luis is also a natural stage artist; he has
staged about 8 tiatrs in the village; sung unaccounted number of songs;
composed more than 1000 songs; played for Orchestras of Fr. Bernado Cota,
audiocassettes; and is now in Kuwait to play for the KGTS show. Due to
failing health, Luis has slowed down his pace and taken up playing Alto
Saxophone, but no one can persuade him to give up music. He has told his
children “ I do not mind if I die while playing trumpet; this is my
lifeline, please do not take it away from me”. With this determination and a
lot of music still left in him, one can only wish him luck and best wishes
to continue his tryst with music and his passion of playing trumpet,
saxophone and violin.

SUCCOUR DE MELLO, need no introduction in the Kuwait tiatr fraternity.
Trained under his father, Zezoti De Mello, Succour learned music at home and
then in a School in Bombay. Succour remembers his first public performance
at the Konkani Manddo festival in 1970 organized by Fr. Lobo of St. Rita
School where he played guitar. His first Konkani drama in 1983 was a
children’s drama staged in Canacona. His first full-fledged Konkani drama
was with Clement and Augusto from Quepem/Canacona. And thereafter, he played
for many Konkani dramas and All India Radio (at that time called
“emissoras”). In Kuwait, the first Konkani drama he played for is ‘Kuwaitcho
Mog” staged in the old Indian Arts Circle in Salmiya where he played both
western and traditional music. He had a rare privilege of working with his
mentor, the ever-living legend Chris Perry and played for all his songs in
his cassette “Cu cu ru cu” except for the four songs played by Tony Vaz.
Chris will always remain his favourite. Succour wishes he had more time with
Chris to understanding his intrinsic values, his style and his work.

“A dream project”, as Succour put it, he has meticulously worked for the
KGTS Show sparing no efforts in spinning the best ever melodies, interludes
and accompaniments for most of the songs. Weaving the web of scintillating
music and later training the local musicians has been a major task for this
exceptionally talented person for last many weeks. He hopes that after this
show, more and more Tiatrists, Associations, Clubs in Kuwait will be
encouraged to have such performances at least once a year. Succour feels
very bad about the standard of music in our Konkani dramas, “It is more
synthetic- we are almost forgetting our brass instruments music. I really
wish we would preserve our tradition of using brass instruments like
saxophone, trumpet for our dramas. If we cannot afford to have a full team
we could at least have one brass instrument playing for a drama”. He
continued, “Also it is time now to change our style of music keeping the
taste of traditional music the same but adding more flavour of western and
techno music to it. Experimentation with the traditional Goan music and
with a major input of western music is more appealing to public now. A
proper blend of traditional and western is just what is needed to set the
pace again. Frank Fernandes, Michael Martin, Chris Perry dared to change the
scene and became trendsetters, the legacy now is ours”. Succour has a major
project in pipeline, an audio album of different kind with many top-leading
singers of the Konkni world. Here is KGTS wishing him all the best in his
future endeavours.

TONY, Band Conductor for the Mega Musical, is a Music Teacher in English
Academy School, Kuwait. Tony learnt music under the East India priest, Boney
D’Souza, at the age of 10 and has been playing trumpet and drums ever since.
Originally from Chandor, Tony has spent most of his time with Don Bosco
School, Bombay, Poona and Bangalore. He had a rare privilege of playing in
the Orchestra-Brass Section during the last visit of Pope John Paul II in
Bombay. Tony has participated in many musical presentations during his
college days and also in Bangalore Amateurs Choral Harmony (BACH) annual
presentation in 1991. Blessed with a good voice and equally good singing
capabilities, Tony has sung and acted in the “Prodigal Son” “Joseph and
Technicolor Court” and “Fiddler on the Roof”. Basically a contented man,
Tony just wishes to carry on his profession of passing this valuable art and
form of entertainment to willing and musically inclined pupils.

FAUTINO ALBERT MENEZES, is the Music Master of English Academy School,
Kuwait. Resident of the pristine island of Goa, Divar, Faustino tutored
under Maestro Santana Cota of Santa Cruz. He played Trumpet in his first
show at the age of 12 and became a part of Don Bosco School Boarder Band
shortly. He was also a member of the Goa Symphony Orcehstra, Brass Section
for some time. Due to pathetic monetary returns in this field, Faustino got
discouraged to carry on with Trumpet and started playing guitar for some
beat groups in Goa. He travelled to Kuwait about a year ago and Succor, one
of the leading musicians in Kuwait, encouraged him to switch back to Trumpet
owing to the dearth of brass musician in this State. By now Faustino has
played for a few shows in Kuwait including Kala Mogui Kuwait Singing
Competition, Konkani Mungllurkarancho Ekvott, and Goa Day 2003. Faustino
feels he is still at the nascent stage of playing music for Konkani tiatro.
He is a fan of Chris Perry, he loved his experimentation with music. He
wishes our Konkani songs would transcend from the conventional form to a
much richer contemporary/Broadway musical form. He says there is no dearth
of talent, all we need to do is, experimentation and innovations. Faustino
plays trumpet for the KGTS Mega Musical show “Tiatr ani Tiatrist”

Augusto & Gracy Morais
Ribandar-Goa (Kuwait)

19 February 2004

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