The first ever Gulf Voice of Goa Konkani singing competition – a tribute to legendary Goan musician and lyricist Chris Perry, created history with a mega show of entertainment at Khaldiya University Auditorium on 22 February.
The event was the biggest singing competition outside Goa that offered the best platform for aspiring singers to showcase their talent on international stage. The competition gathered some of the best Goan singers in the Gulf to demonstrate their vocal talent and prowess. This gave singers and the public a high quality, and unforgettable experience.
The event was organized in aid of the Bahrain Cathedral. Admirably, the program began with a hymn in honor of Our Lady of Arabia. Singers who took part in singing were Trupti Marshall, Flavia Fernandes, Felia Alphonso, Neeta Fernandes, Jessie Leitao, Larissa Fernandes, Esparansa Barretto and Carrie Santos.
A minute silence was also observed at the onset of the program for police jawans killed in the terror attack at Pulwama, Kashmir.
Goan Cultural Centre President Carmo Santos, who in the past has organized events of substance such as Global Goans Convention and the first Konkani Film Festival (outside India) in Kuwait, was the chief coordinator of the show. Santos was well supported by famous Goan NRIs in the MiddleEast – Agnello Fernandes and Bosco Leitao (Kuwait), Simon D’Silva (Doha Qatar), Gabriel Crasto and Francis Correia (Bahrain), Gabby de Chandor (Dubai), and Anthony Lourenco (Muscat).
A number of celebrity artistes and delegates took part in the 5 and a half hour non-stop, pulsating and entertaining show. Special invitees for the event included Gurudas Pilernekar (Director – Art & Culture, Goa), Thomazinho Cardozo (Tiatr Academy of Goa – TAG), Cezar D’Mello (TAG), Mr. Henry Fernandes (Dubai), etc.
The main competition was classified for Gulf residents of Goan origin. Two participants from each country, a male and a female, were shortlisted for the finals. The contest consisted of 2 rounds – the first was normal singing of one complete song, the second round required singers to catch up with the tempo of music in a one verse-chorus song.
Melodious Goan voices from the Gulf countries along with a number of dignitaries and supporting fans made their way to the event. Kuwait’s Romeo Braganza and Dubai’s Aviella D’Souza were adjudged best Gulf Goan Male and Female singers. Romeo’s winning song ‘Maria’ received thunderous applause from the home fans while Aviella demonstrated great vocal quality, stage presence and showmanship singing her award-winning number ‘Meu Amor’. John Pereira (UAE) with ‘Sopnan Fottoilo’ and Slenzitta D’Cruz (Bahrain) singing ‘Kalliz Velem Chorun’ finished as Runner-ups.
As well as receiving glittering crystal trophies, the winners and runners-up were awarded cash prizes and gift hampers. Prizes were handed over by Carmo Santos, Martin Alphonso, Trupti Marshall and Felia Alphonso in presence of Gurudas Pilernekar – Art & Culture Director. Other contestants who contested the final included Aeral Paul Fernandes (Bahrain), John De Sa and Natcey Barretto (Qatar), Maurice Rosario and Velriza Pereira (Oman), and Kuwait’s Zelia Rodrigues. All the participants were felicitated with impressive mementos.
One of the highlights of the show was the return on stage of one of Konkani stage’s most respected loving son and star Jose Rod after a gap of over 10 years, which brought a standing ovation from everyone. Jose was welcomed by a specially arranged children’s kotti-fugdi dance, and escorted on stage by little Kyle and Kiara Fernandes led by Agnello Fernandes. Jose Rod paid tribute to Chris Perry through his speech and a song accompanied by Esparansa and Florinda Cardozo.
In a specially made voice-over video presentation concluded with a melancholy trumpet recitation by Velrose Pereira, memories of the legendary musician were brought to life while Jose Rod later revealed some extraordinary facts about the legend.
Apart from the competition, entertaining songs, dances and comedy skits were a special feature of the show. Judges for the competition included Cezar D’Mello, Thomazinho Cardozo, Celso Fernandes and Jose Rod. Celebrity star and Konkani stage icon Lawry Travasso was one of the main performers at the show. Lawry entertained the crowd with his famous, melodious songs.
The event also saw performances by winner of Goencho Avaz 2015 Classy Cardozo and UAE Goencho Tallo winner Florinda Cardozo. Both the girls were graceful and elegant in their presentation. The opening theme song was performed by Velrose Pereira on trumpet, Gasper Crasto, Sanio Fernandes and Lawry Travasso – along with dancing kids from Penny’s Dance Academy. The dance kids included Anushka Rao, Macsen Fernandes, Anastasia Lobo, Liyana and Janna Shajahan, Hannah Thomas, Jesabelle Jogi Kanjoothara, Anthea Ferrao, Meera Joshi, Kyle and Kiara Fernandes.
Velrose Pereira, with her singing, trumpet performance and attractive stage presence, was one of the stars of the show. She sang a solo, played the trumpet for the opening theme song, and also sang a duet with her father Avers Pereira and later teamed up with Sanio and Lawry Travasso. Velrose was certainly one of the stars of the show and looks set to be a Goan entertainer of the future.
Another star who is going great guns globally is Sanio Fernandes (Dubai). The singer who is growing increasingly popular on social media captured the audience by his presence and star status. Rhythmic singer Michael D’Silva (Goa) sang a comedy solo while celebrated Thomazino Cardozo and Irene Cardozo (Goa) gave a beautiful duet.
Avers Pereira (Oman) sang a solo but it was his duet with daughter Velrose that received great admiration. Esparansa and Gasper Crasto’s dancing duet on the challenges of life was well applauded too. All the guest artists were honoured on stage with mementos.
Goan group of folk music sang ‘Estrelas de Goa’. The group consisted of Karmen Meneses, Merwyn Pereira, Carrie Santos and John Noronha with Edwin Nazareth on guitar and Aldrin Menezes on Bongo. Kuwaiti singer Mubarak Al Rashid entertained everyone singing Chris Perry’s popular song ‘Adeus’ in both Konkani and Arabic. He also sang a Hindi song and Konkani Dulpods.
A band ensemble with a contingent of musicians led by Kuwait’s Maestro Soccor D’Mello, Fredrico De Mello, Faustino Menezes and Goa’s Norman Cardozo energized the show with beautiful beats. Anthony Azavedo (Goa) – Saxophone, Roswyn Fernandes (Goa) – Drums, Johny Fernandes – Rhythm, Flaviano Furtado – Bass and Vilma Fernandes – Violin were other members of the band. The band played the competition songs to perfection. All the musicians were felicitated with memorable mementos.
Kuwait-based artistes performed two comedy skits in-between. The comedians in colorful costumes included Querobina Carvalho, Comedian Nelson, Master Valentino Pinto, Gracy Rodrigues and Mario Fernandes.
Chief coordinator of the event and President of Goan Cultural Centre (GCC) Carmo Santos addressed the audience and thanked all the sponsors and well-wishers for the support in making the show a grand success. Mr. Santos stated his happiness over the aim of the competition in popularising Konkani singing culture and to stir interest of song and music in the new youth generation. While applauding the support of his core members Agnello A.S. Fernandes and Bosco Leitao, Mr. Santos also expressed his thanks to Maestro Soccor De Mello for the music arrangement with other musicians.
Anjali Amonkar (Kuwait) and G.R. Crasto (Bahrain) teamed up together for a great presentation as anchors. Their management and well-versed Konkani phrases were well admired by a friendly and encouraging audience. Both the anchors were honoured by the organizers. A digital stage set and live audio-visual presentation made the show very attractive. Anand D’Souza was credited for the stage and sound arrangement.
The show was streamed live on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oltEOZ-nFU. Goa’s Prudent media representatives Sachin Surlekar and Shirish Kunkolekar were in Kuwait to cover the event.
Edited version of the show is expected to be broadcast on Prudent TV (Goa) in the coming days. Kuwait’s Arab Times, Kuwait Times, The Times Weekly, Daijiworld, IndiansinKuwait, Fuddari Konkani Weekly, www.gulfvoiceofgoa.com and http://gaspersworld.blogspot.com/ have covered the event all through.
The Executive Committee of Goan Cultural Centre (GCC) comprised of Carmo Santos-President, Martino Alphonso-Vice-President, Trupti Marshall-General Secretary, Ramdas Revadkar-Sports Secretary, Flavia Fernandes-Cultural Secretary, Francis Marshall-Auditor, Carrie Santos-Member, Cajetan Pinheiro-Member and Simplicio Fernandes – Member.
Report – Gasper Crasto
Photographs – Pearl Vaz