Blast from the past!
Goa’s first rock band, Blue Turtle, which last played in 1989, recently got back together for a show that was filled with nostalgia. Café has the details
For the last few months, stories of a band considered to be the showstoppers of a bygone era were generating a lot of buzz amongst social circles in Goa. At pubs and social gatherings, people wanted to confirm if what they were hearing was truly happening. They would chip in with tales of how this group was famous in the ‘80s, for moving beyond the norm with their attire and hairdos, use of sound equipment and style of music, setting the tone for bands to come. These were the days of the beat shows and festivals, where bands reigned supreme. This is the story of Blue Turtle, who had their last show in 1989. Their next show was held almost 30 years later, in 2018. Held at the popular Southern Deck in Benaulim, their show not only pulled in the older generation but youngsters as well. “It was the first weekend of the new year so we thought we’d kick off with Goa’s first rock band and we are glad that we made this show happen. They used to open for all the top rock bands that used to travel to Goa,” says Ankith Kedar of Strobe Nightlife. The night brought back memories of concerts held in that era and was also a reunion of so many Goans who were youngsters at that time. “The nostalgic moments came rushing back. The Blue Turtle fans came back in large numbers. It was pure joy to see that spirit still rocking to the Blue Turtle rockers,” says Colin Savio Coleho. “While most of the Blue Turtle members are still into music and perform even now, I was amazed to see that Vernon Velho has not lost his touch one bit, despite hardly drumming for the last 27 years. He still has the finesse he had almost three decades ago,” adds Colin. Besides Vernon, the other band members are Kevin Vaz (keyboards), Simao De Goa (Vocals), Avril Rodrigues (bass), Ashley Rodrigues (guitar) and Edwin Fernandes (guitar). “We are doing it for the love of music and friendship,” said Kevin Vaz before the show. “I felt like a total teenager before the gig. I was all nervous but magically there was a transformation from the very first drum beat on the stage at the gig. We all felt the same energy again,” says Edwin, pointing out that the comeback gig was in the pipelines for a long time but got delayed as most of them were abroad. Besides the thrill of playing again, Ashley says that he could not believe and still cannot get over the overwhelming response from their old and new fans. “To see young children present and cheering for us was very humbling,” he adds. While they played a couple of new songs, they also played some of their old songs like ‘Smoking’ by Boston, ‘ Rock you like a hurricane’ by Scorpions, ‘In the name of the Father’ by Revolution Saints and so on. “We played the exact same songs... partly for nostalgia and partly to see if we could try the same songs. It went well, adds Edwin. It was when the members of the group moved overseas to pursue their respective careers that the group disbanded but the members still share what they called their brotherhood, which has brought them to this moment. While Edwin adds that they cannot wait to get back on stage, Ashley says that they are looking at having full fledged concerts. The mention of concerts led to a discussion about the shows of the late ‘80s and ‘90s and they expressed sadness about how those type of concerts do not happen anymore. “Oh how we miss those days of true music and playing live. The beat shows were a total showcase for talent those days, states Kevin, adding that what he misses most are the traditional Goan musical celebrations. Speaking about their choice of genre, Ashley points out that in those days, Rock music was attributed to bands from Bombay, Chennai and the north east: “Goa was known for Pop. No one believed that we had sprung out from this beautiful land and set a trait for Rock. Being young and energetic we put together a stage act of dress, energetic moves and synchronised performances. The audiences loved this and we enjoyed every moment.” Concluding with the reason behind their name, they say that the turtle symbolises the vast journey they cover, while ‘blue’ is the endless ocean to discover.
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