02 Aug 2022  |   05:17am IST

All the Roses on one stage

The Rose family - Rita, Engelbert and Alria - will be performing live for the first time together to mark the 90th birth anniversary of Alfred Rose at the book release function of ‘The Rose Blooms: A Study of Alfred Rose’s Lyrics’ authored by Glenis Mendonca. An all-time favourite among Konkani music lovers, the Melody King has a cult following even today
All the Roses on one stage


lenis Mendonca’s curiosity to find out why Goan youth are still selecting Alfred Rose’s songs for singing competitions in Goa, led her to do a thorough research on the study of Alfred Rose’s lyrics and the fruit of her labour is, ‘The Rose Blooms: A Study of Alfred Rose’s Lyrics’. The book will be released on the 90th birthday anniversary of the Melody King, on August 5 at 4 pm, by Deputy Speaker Joshua D’Souza, in the presence of Guest of Honour, Rita Rose and her children Englebert and Alria. After the formal release, the Rose family will perform six songs including two tribute songs (a solo and duet) especially composed for the occasion, along with a few fans of Alfred Rose.

Wife of late Alfred Rose, Rita, is excited to return to Goa and share the stage with her son and daughter. All three will be performing together for the very first time. “It is a proud and priceless moment for us. He was my love and life and we didn’t praise him much when he was alive. I have performed with my son and daughter separately but this is the first time we are performing together. Alfred had written over 5,000 songs in Konkani and 1,000 songs in English and we will be singing songs which are not heard. It has been 90 years for Alfred but people still compose songs on him. Interestingly, in his entire collection, not one song is negative and each song is relevant even today,” says Rita.

Speaking about her interaction with Glenis and new book, Rita is full of praise, “I read the manuscript three times before it went for printing and Glenis is a terrific writer and a thorough researcher. This is also the first time that a book on Alfred Rose has got an ISBN number for online sale of the book.”

Growing up listening to Alfred Rose’s songs on the radio and watching his tiatrs too, Glenis became a fan much later, after she began reading the lyrics and getting deeper into the themes and messages they held. An Assistant Professor at Carmel College for Women, Nuvem, she set out on the journey to write the book on August 14, 2019, under the mentorship of Tomazinho Cardozo. “I submitted a proposal to Dalgado Konknni Akademi under the ‘Sodh-vavr Scheme’ envisioning a study of Alfred Rose’s lyrics. I was fascinated as a judge of several All Goa Konkani Singing Competitions where I heard over sixty percent participants choosing and singing songs composed by the Melody King. He is known to have sung around 5,000 songs (in English and Konkani), but around 700 songs are actually documented. Sadly, there is no complete collection of all his lyrics with musical scores in a published form,” says Mendonca.

To have a more meaningful interaction with Rita Rose, Glenis did her background research. She went through the online collection of Alfred’s lyrics by Edward Verdes on his blogspot, which he had written by merely listening to the songs over his headphones. Edward was also very forthcoming with information. She also refered to ‘Gitanjali,’ a collection of lyrics by Fr Joaquim Fernandes and more recently, Isidore Dantas’ book, ‘Alfred Rose: The King of Melody’.

“I was introduced to Rita Rose for the first time at Dantas’ book launch. I made a trip to Mahim, Mumbai, and visited the Rose family in October 2019. Most of the material was gathered from my personal interview with Alfred Rose’s wife, Rita Rose. She was very cooperative and kind. I cannot thank her enough. Engelbert Rose too was very generous to share his prized family photographs for this book. He deserves credit and appreciation.

The 197-page book in English has ten chapters and is a comprehensive study of the choicest lyrics of Alfred Rose. The lyrics range from social values, morals, devotional and religious themes, nationalism and multiple cultures. Besides popular lyrics, the work gives a glimpse into the unexplored, unpublished hidden gems of Alfred Rose, both in English and Konkani.

“Dalgado Konknni Akademi has been my strong backbone to this venture. Vincy Quadros, president, was the key coordinator, William Fernandes, secretary held the tech-savvy skills of securing the ISBN and Celso Fernandes, treasurer, unfastened the purse strings to make this publication possible. On the 90th birth anniversary of Alfred Rose, I dedicate this book to all the fans and lovers of this celebrated artiste, who enjoyed his Konkani writings, lyrics and continue to celebrate his legacy and love for Konkani songs,” says Mendonca.

The observations and findings of the study offer a road map for further researchers on the rare lyrical masterpieces of the Melody King. Mendonca adds, “I am hoping that this book inspires a bigger study like an M Phil or a Doctorate, as there is so much more waiting to be uncovered from the writings of legends like Alfred Rose. There are more celebrated lyricists and writers from Konkani, and it is the need of the hour to read, research and get the study in a book form, so that they are documented for posterity.”

The three Roses will be performing six songs, solos and duets for the musical show in Goa. The book will be available on sale at the Dalgado Konknni Academi office in Panjim. Buyers can get an autographed copy for a reasonable price at the book release function.