by J P Pereira
Arambol, the picturesque village in north Goa, has boasted of many ‘tiatrist’ and musicians. Tiatr lovers have heard of Babush and Dominic, two great musicians who have made a mark with their particular brand of music, playing for some of the better directors of Konkani drama.
Evarist Rodrigues the new entrant on the Konkani commercial stage also hails from Arambol. He is the son of Benjamin and Josephine Rodrigues, a great singer who writes his own songs and an actor. Completing his schooling at Mount Carmel High School in Arambol, he joined Saint Francis Xavier, Siolim to clear the XIIth and graduated from Xavier’s College, Mapusa. He is a computer engineer but is very much involved in ‘tiatr’ and helps run the family business.
From the age of 14 this young actor has been performing in the village dramas at Arambol. He was also involved in various skits and street plays during the college days. The villagers of Arambol have a tradition of staging a ‘tiatr’ every year, on the 8th of September, for the feast of Mother Mary. This annual affair is presented exclusively by talented performers from the village. The group, ABC Arambol Cultural Troupe has also performed at the Kala Academy Tiatr Competition. Evarist performed in these competitions. But the first commercial break came in ‘Chuk Lipoinakat’ a tiatr by Br. Vincent Rebello. Soon he was picked up by Aleixinho de Morjim for singing a couple of songs in his top notch drama, ‘Sarpanch’. Next came ‘Bentin’ from Dolfino Rodrigues. In this show he rendered a superb solo and a duet on true love. Both were his own compositions. Tousif de Navelim presented him in ‘Akantvaddi Goyant Naka’ that hard hitting political drama that created quite a sensation and later Menino de Bandar took him for ‘Maim’. The play will be released again this season and Evarist besides singing , also plays a migrant from Uttar Pradesh to add to the humour in the ‘tiatr’.
During the Lent season, the young singer made a mark in two plays. There was Cruz Pinto’s ‘Ghatki Judas’ and the impressive ‘Jezuk Kursar Marinakat’ from Anthony de Ambajim. Evarist is grateful to comedienne Jane, the lady who also does serious roles, for introducing him to the commercial directors. He also speaks highly of Thomas Fernandes, his teacher in the school and a musician too. Whenever a song is composed, Evarist approaches Thomas for setting the song to music. The two do a rough recording and the singer practices with the help of his mobile till the song is perfect. Evarist admits nervousness when stepping before the audience but this is soon overcome, to render a perfect song. Blessed with a clear and polished voice, he is a treat to hear. He has sung on an audio album of Aleixinho de Morjim and has released ‘Mhojem Sopon’ his own CD, with talent from Arambol and other professionals.
Evarist has a bit of advice to new entrants. Do not be disappointed, when commercial directors don’t give a break. Work hard and if one has the talent then no one can put you down. The appreciation will come through hard work and at the right time. And of course, trust in God. Keep singing young man, the Konkani stage needs the likes of you.