Herald: Requiem for Sanya, as the violin gently weeps

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Requiem for Sanya, as the violin gently weeps

24 Apr 2019 06:36am IST

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Fernando Monte da Silva

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24 Apr 2019 06:36am IST

Report by
Fernando Monte da Silva

Leave a comment

Sanya Myla Cotta. To have to now prefix her name with a the word ‘Late”, will be lifelong lament not just for a music loving family which made several sacrifices to nurture the musical talent of their prodigious daughter but for the music fraternity of Goa and all the distant shores where music lovers applauded and loved her renditions. Those who watched and listened to her truly believed that this 32 year old Goan girl from Aggassaim, would have joined the global hall of fame of women violinists like Sarah Chang and Hilary Hahn

 

 

 

It is always a mark of a true tragedy when one can apply Alfred, Lord

Tennyson’s line to a situation. Lord Tennyson once had us believe “‘Its better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.” With the passing of the prodigious Goan violinist, Sanya Myla Cotta, we revisit these words, taken from the work ‘In Memoriam A. H. H. OBIIT MDCCCXXXIII: 27’, understanding their depth, and how a young girl, an extraordinary talent, and a beautiful human being, was taken from us, all too soon.


Sanya passed away at St Luke’s Hospital in Brussels, Belgium, at the age of 32 on Saturday, April 20, 2019, having been suffering from pneumonia before that. Her family informed in a statement thanking everyone for their prayers and support in the process. Sanya, the daughter of Schubert and Mexcy Cotta, came from a family who returned earlier than expected from Germany, in order to contribute to Goa’s music industry.


One could talk about all that Sanya achieved over the course of her life, and it would span several days’ worth of discussion given that her career kicked off at age 3, when she began her studies at the Conservatory of Hamburg. At age 12, upon her return to Goa, she went on to further study music under Myra Shroff, obtaining an associate diploma (ATCL, Trinity College of Music, London), a Licentiate from the Royal School and a fellowship of the Trinity College of Music, before completing two Masters’ degrees, including a Meisterklasse (a postgraduate degree with Prof. Ulf Klausenitzer in Nuremberg) and a Pedagogy Degree which aided her quest to teach at a music school. She would also go on to become the concert master for the Bangalore City Chamber Orchestra (BCCO). And all of these are, of course, are just her achievements on paper. There’s plenty more to be said about the things which didn’t make the headlines.

The bane of most teachers is often the statement made by many: ‘those who can’t do…teach’. However, Sanya went on to shatter the glass ceiling on that front, having not only performed at the highest level, but also having trained to become a teacher, and helped nurture the next generation of musicians. Of course, while the facts and stats show that, they don’t speak of some of the students that she worked with. They don’t tell the story of the friends she painstakingly worked with, or the loving cousin who always helped her familiars, so that they could take the next leap forward, just as she had. Though she did once admit, with a telling smile, that teaching isn’t something that she thought she would be able to undertake full-time, as the stage always called out to her, as she continued to strive to keep a balance between being an orchestral player, chamber musician and a concert violinist.

The recorded facts also don’t always highlight certain aspects of Sanya’s being and nature, such as a love for Konkani at an inherent level, as is spoken of by many who remember her support during the making of the Goa ForGiving project/ music single, ‘Goenkarponn… The Goa Song’, which was powered by 40 singers and musicians, in order to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of the Opinion Poll of Goa.

It is also prudent to point out that Sanya’s entire journey, started off like many giants before her), may have started off as a complete but very happy accident. Sanya’s father, Schubert is a guitar specialist, and the general assumption would have been that she would have followed in his footsteps, under his tutelage…and she almost did. At a very young age, with a desire to play any musical instrument Sanya started off with a little guitar. However, unhappy with the sound she was producing from it, she moved on to the violin and took lessons with Renata Bruce-Webber, and took to it like a duck to water. The rest, as they say, is history; just as her life will be recorded for posterity, amongst Goa’s other legendary sons and daughters.

We may have started this tribute to Sanya with a line from Tennyson, but as Goa prepares to say farewell to her, these few words from W.H Auden seem more appropriate:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Goa does mourn today. But her music , her work and her life, will be toasted for ever.

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