22 Sep 2022  |   06:22am IST

Dancing to the tune of Konkani songs in Melbourne

Come September 24 and Goans in Melbourne will be treated to a concert of Konkani songs for the ‘Goan Konkani Musical Show’, bringing a generous dose of nostalgia through golden hits belted out by Goans living in Australia
Dancing to the tune of Konkani songs in Melbourne

Goans in Melbourne, Australia will be rejoicing on September 24 as they will not only get a taste of Goa but will also be able to sing along to Konkani songs at the ‘Goan Konkani Musical Show,’ giving them a feel of Goa and quality time to bond together as part of the diaspora. This is the second edition of the event;the first was staged in September 2019, followed by two years of restrictions due to the Covid pandemic. Now, as Australia eases its restrictions, the Goan community has an opportunity to meet again in the company of good music, comedy and tasty Goan food.

The musical evening, ‘Goan Konkani Musical Show’ will be held at the St John’s Church Durkin Hall, Mitcham-Melbourne from 8 pm onwards. It is being organised by five very active members of the Goan diaspora in Australia, Mario Carvalho, Josefato Vales, Felipe Dias, Titus Fernandes and Franky Fernandes. The show will be free for children and youth to give them better exposure to the Konkani language and music, while there will be a nominal fee for those over 25 years of age.

Mario Carvalho, his wife Cherylanne and daughter Yolanne, have been living in Australia for over two decades but their love for Konkani keeps them connected to their roots. Currently pursuing her doctor’s internship, Yolanne will also join her parents on stage playing the saxophone for the show while Cherylanne has been coordinating the organisation logistics. Mario’s first Melbourne Konkani musical show was in October 2010 as part of the ‘Konkani Cultural and Heritage Incorporated’ (KCHI).

“There will be 24 songs that will be performed. Some will be composed for the occasion but most of the songs will be classics by Alfred Rose. The night is dedicated to Alfred Rose, a musical genius and we are also planning to have a special presentation on the life on Alfred Rose as this year marks his 90th birth anniversary. The show will comprise solos, duets, trios and even a Mando, ‘Agonn Ami Kell’oli’. There is also a skit presented by Titus, Melville, Felipe and Ursula,” says Mario, who is from Margao in Goa.

Besides the Carvalho family, a number of musicians and singers will present Konkani music and they include Josefato Vales, Sarojini D’Sa, Myline Vales, Jovan Vales, Serene Sequeira, Melville Telles, Arnaldo Afonso, Venessa Afonso, Titus Fernandes, Ursula Fernandes, Claudia Sequeira, Felipe Dias and Sanio Fernandes, who will be the one singer flying in from abroad.

Josefato Vales was once a part of Chris Perry’s band and he has inculcated the same love for music in his two children, Jovan and Myline. Together, they have been involved with musical events since they moved to Australia about 15 years ago. Josefato himself has been the backbone of almost all Goan events in Victoria as he writes music and even teaches young Goan children. “An event like this gives Konkani music lovers an opportunity to showcase their talent in a distant land away from Goa. The response has been overwhelming. The youth came forward on their own to showcase their talent along with other versatile singers in Melbourne,” says Josefato.

Titus Fernandes from Canacona is music lover, dancer and loves to travel, meet people and learn their cultures and traditions from around the world. Ursula Fernandes works in public service and loves music and dance. The husband-wife duo of Vanessa and Arnaldo Afonso from Betalbatim, come from a musically talented family in Goa and continued to sing and display their talents during the Konkani musical show in Melbourne and also the shows organised by the Goan Overseas Association of Victoria.

Felipe Dias, hailing from Siolim, is the driving force behind this Konkani musical show and take the stage singing and acting in a short Konkani skit. “Goans in Melbourne, Victoria require a dose of Konkani music once a year, the past two years due to Covid-19, we couldn't do much but this year the Konkani musical show has all the ingredients for the real Goan experience- songs, duets, mandos and comedy skits for everyone,” says Felipe.

With his roots in Vasco, Franky Fernandes, now calls Melbourne his home. “I think Melbourne, Victoria, has the largest Goan population in the whole of Australia. There is definitely an opportunity to promote the Konkani language here. When a Konkani music show with a large number of artistes is happening, it’s a matter of prestige that the Goan diaspora is working in promoting the Konkani Language globally. Another highlight of the show will be Australian Kath Mae who will sing the popular Konkani song, ‘Lisboa,’ originally sung by Lorna Corderio,” says Franky.

Goan musician and singer Sanio Fernandes will be travelling from Dubai to Melbourne to perform at ‘Goan Konkani Musical Show’. This is the second time he will be visiting the country for a performance. “I am grateful to the Goans in Australia for inviting me for the second time to perform in Melbourne. Dev Borem Korum to the Niz Goenkar in Melbourne, because it’s your love for Konkani and your pride towards your identity that creates this platform for Konkani singers like myself who are still trying to learn and improve and contribute to take our Goan music to better heights. When I perform abroad, and meet our hardworking Goans there, I am reminded to work harder and be more humble as we continue to serve our global community with our gifts. My prayer is for our music to bring us together in hearts and minds,” says Fernandes, who will be performing three new original songs besides other songs. “Songs like ‘Pavsachea Tempar’, ‘Tin Kallzam’, ‘Pordeshi Goenkar’, ‘Bailek Respet’, ‘Xezari’ will be sung based on requests from the crowd,” he adds.

A long-time migrant to Australia, Sarojini D’Sa, is considered Melbourne’s ‘Nightingale of the Konkani stage’. Originally from Tivim, she hails from a musically gifted family. She is also a YouTube singing sensation, with songs in Konkani, Portuguese, English, Fijian and Hindi. “I have been singing in Melbourne since 1992. I feel overwhelmed singing for this Konkani musical show, we have been waiting for this for long, but over the last two years, due to Covid-19, this could not happen. September 24 is a day Melbourne will remember for long,” says D’Sa.

The stage is set for the much awaited Konkani Musical Show and every participant is looking forward to give their best before the Goan diaspora in Melbourne.


Iddhar Udhar