In life you will find people who do things for the sake of doing it and people who do things because simply for the love of it. Paul Fernandes is certainly a singer/compeer/entertainer who falls in the latter category. Cedric Silveira caught up with Paul to learn a little more about him
hen did you begin to sing professionally?
I have been singing right from the time I was in school. In fact all my brothers are musicians with the eldest Anthony playing the clarinet, Xavier plays the trumpet and Joseph the youngest plays the saxophone. I recall in the 70’s when we would go to our maternal aunt’s shack at Candolim and play at the shack. Later quite a few of us would jam up and play at shacks. Then one day in the year 1987, one of my friends suggested that we start a band, and so the band Cactus came into existence. It was a popular band with a lot of showmanship. Our first real good break came in Calangute when we got a chance to play at The Royals and at The Coco Banana. However due to my mother’s illness I quit the band and took her to Mumbai for treatment. In Mumbai too I ended playing for a jazz band at The Oberoi, and I played for almost 3 years. In 1992, I returned to Goa and went into solo entertainment. I played for a couple of bands after that but my forte has always remained solo performances and entertaining.
You are also into compering.
Well I would normally do a little compering while singing. But at one wedding the bridal couple had forgotten to arrange for a compere. It was then that they requested my help and I obliged. From then onwards I have also put compering in my repertoire.
What kind of music do you play?
I play retro music from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. I enjoy singing numbers of Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Beatles, Cliff Richard, Kenny Rogers, John Denver and the list goes on. I feel that even in today’s times people can relate to such music.
Have you toured outside Goa or India?
Yes I have been to China, Bangkok and Switzerland where I have played and sung. I sang solo as well as jammed up with bands from Australia, Africa and America. In China, I remember a nice incident when we had gone to a restaurant/night club where we met the owner who was Danish. When he heard we were from Goa and were out there to play music he immediately asked us to go on stage and sing. From 9 in the evening till 6 in the morning I was singing and entertaining the crowd. The next year I happened to go to that same place, and on seeing me, he immediately recognised me and told me to sing. What struck me was that even though he has met thousands of people, he still remembered me and it speaks volumes of his appreciation to my music.
What is your opinion about the sound restriction?
Many Europeans eat early and then love to drink and party well into the night. If Goa is being promoted as a fun destination 365 days of the year, then where is the fun for the foreigners? When we go to their country they do not tell us to stop partying after 10p.m. So in reality it is sad.