Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God - Matthew 5:9. September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace (IDP) by the UN General Assembly. This day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. The need for peace is even more important in today’s day and age as the world is going through turmoil. Through the two years of the pandemic, a small idea of uniting the world came to fruition as Fr Myron Sequeira put in great efforts to create ‘Golden Peace’, a song about peace.
Director of Pilar Music Academy, Fr Myron, brought not just Goans and Indians but people from 86 countries together in a single song. It was not easy to collaborate with so many artistes but Fr Myron, worked day and night to coordinate with the artistes keeping in mind the time difference. However, when the video of ‘Golden Peace’ was screened at Fr Rob Galea’s concert at Pilar, the video seemed seamlessly with precision in not just the voices and music but also the video editing. ‘Golden Peace’ is composed and set to music by Fr Jerry Fernandes, presently serving in a Goan Chaplaincy Parish in London.
Fr Myron is a Pilar Priest and hails from Socorro, Porvorim. A versatile musician, he plays over a dozen of instruments, and has done grades from Trinity College London, in violin, piano, western vocals, and theory of music and holds a diploma in music production and sound engineering from the School of Bollywood Music, Mumbai. Currently, as the director of the Pilar Music Academy, he is in-charge of four centres, Pilar, Porvorim, Margao and Sanguem with students showing an ever-growing interest in learning music.
Interestingly, the first seed of this creative song was born in the mind of Fr Myron, when he was a young seminarian in 1999 when it used to be played as part of early morning music. During the pandemic, he thought of recording the song himself, but later thought of including a few popular Goan singers and well known musicians, so that the song has a wider reach and approval.
“Initially, the idea was to record only three singers. On my request, Andrew Ferrao prepared the initial track and recorded the voices of Goan singers including Alacoque Morenas, Shamirah Aguiar, Ana Fay Goes Petalio and Ryan Mark recorded Naisa Lotlekar. A rap part was a new edition written and recorded by Sharlaine Menezes, a popular rap singer from Goa. The song has a pre-intro arranged by myself showcasing various traditional instruments and sounds. The fourth verse by Fr Jerry himself was another addition in this version of song,” says Fr Myron.
As the song was getting ready for release, Fr Myron had to leave to Mumbai for his studies in music production and sound engineering. In Mumbai, he came across more singers and musicians. From Goan singers, the list expanded to artistes from every state of India. “A friend added me on an Instagram group, which had musicians from around the world. I introduced myself as a priest from Goa, belonging to the Society of the Missionaries of St Francis Xavier, Pilar and informed them about the song on world peace. Since this is a charity song to inspire them to try various instruments and dance to spread the message of world peace, many renowned musicians and singers contributed to the song,” explains Fr Myron.
The song has been mixed and mastered by Joe D’Costa, who works as a music producer in Bollywood industry and Arijit Chakraborty, proprietor of School of Bollywood Music, Mumbai. The song begins with Merlyn D’Silva from Goa at Cabo de Rama beach, with a voiceover by renowned RJ and emcee Joed Almeida who describes the song. Each participant is introduced through the video with the name of their country and the musical instrument that they are playing. “Every artiste has recorded their respective video in a natural setting or a historic place in their country, some even donning their traditional costumes. It was really a challenge for me to include a part of every artiste as their footage was fascinating. I’m confident this collective effort and team work will surely inspire many youngsters, to do something great in the future and use music as a weapon to foster peace and harmony,” adds Fr Myron.
Those involved in the song includes holders in Phd in music, Grammy award winners, Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss Earth winners, artistes who participated and won singing contest in events like America, Britain, Spain, Poland, Brazil and Argentina Got Talent.
For Fr Myron, it was an enriching experience to personally connect with these artistes, communicate at different time zones and use Google translator when needed. “I used to send them the basic music and they use to improvise and send back. It was a real challenge to work from a distance. I learnt about the rich traditions and diverse culture of other countries. Some of the artistes from abroad have already visited Goa,” he says.
He further adds, “Many session recordists charge a lot to record even a few bars of music but were generous to me. Many active Catholic youth and their families from Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa and Oceania were fascinated communicating to me as a priest. I came across youngsters and so many musicians playing variety of traditional instruments, which I had never seen before.”
Over the two years, some of the artistes from Ukraine, Iran and Israel, have also gone through a rough phase. Fr Myron, shares how these artistes still chose to send their segment for the video. “Just before they could record my song, Angelina McFarlane and her mother from Ukraine, had no access to go back to their home, and had to settle as refugees in Spain. She then recorded her part with great difficulty as a refugee in Spain but with great gladness. A year back protest in Iran and poor network connectivity in their country made me hold back the release as there were nearly 40 amazing participants from there. Some were still left to send the video parts which they did after a few month,” says Fr Myron.
However, it was Fr Myron’s patience and ability to work at late nights, on the music tracks and video editing and constant belief and encouragement of his fellow artiste has made the impossible possible. Though songs on peace is not new but a collaboration of this magnitude, with 316 artistes from 86 countries, with 69 live recorded instruments and 72 singers, certainly makes ‘Golden Peace’ one of the biggest collaboration songs. The song will be available on YouTube channel of Pilar Music Academy from today, September 21, to spread hope and joy towards living in a peaceful world.