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Tuned in to Konkani

Jerry and Joanita de Souza take their passion for good Konkani music very seriously and have just released their third album ‘Dis Dakoilai Novo’. NT BUZZ gets acquainted with the couple

J P Pereira

Jerry de Souza from Salvador de Mundo has grown up around music. The son of Mary and erstwhile radio singer Johny Sylvester, who was one of the first accordion players in Goa, he is also the grandson of Eusebio de Souza who played in Bollywood for silent Hindi films

Although he does not play any instruments himself, his lyrics and the music he sets them too, tells of the fine ear he has for music. Indeed, his knack for music could be seen from an early age as he sang solos and duets composed by his dad for Caesar’s Dramatic Troupe from the age of ten.

“I once composed a song with three verses and each verse had a different tune. However, that was not allowed in tiatr and was dropped,” says Jerry laughing. After graduation, Jerry went overseas to work. In Dubai, he was a regular in musical shows there and performed songs on stage. He used to sing his own songs, along with greats like Lorna and other professionals. Composing lyrics for songs and setting these to music was a passion with him. During his free hours in Dubai, he began to give this passion an outlet. These lyrics were written in a book and preserved, like a treasure

Joanita on the other hand, who hails from Saipem, Candolim, was a child artiste in many plays, written and directed by Tomazinho Cardozo, for the Kala Academy Competition. He was her teacher and noticing her talent cast her in his play titled ‘Utor’. The acting continued for some time. Then came studies and later, a marriage proposal. Jerry and Joanita, liked one another and got married. In Dubai, Joanita acted for Chrisferns in ‘Sopon’ and performed duets with Jerry for musical shows. When she found the treasured book of lyrics, she convinced Jerry, that something had to be done to share them with lovers of Konkani songs. And thus, the seed for the first audio album was sown. It took a year to prepare the music, polish the lyrics and the recording of the album coincided with the birth of their daughter, Joanna. “The album was named ‘Ek Uzvadd Tum’ and the title song was specially composed and dedicated to our daughter,” reminisces Joanita, “I thank God for this marriage which also helped me, besides many blessings, to continue singing.”

The late Josinho provided the beautiful music and the album was grabbed by Sinari’s and released. A couple of years later the couple released their second Konkani album. ‘Tum Ani Hanv Mellonk’ was a tribute to their marriage and a thanksgiving to God for bringing two strangers with similar ideas, together. Joanita now lends support and provides the boost to production, while Jerry is busy with the lyrics and setting these to music. Both the albums have been highly appreciated, with the second one bagging awards from TAG, for best album as well as for the lyrics. The latest audio disc ‘Dis Dakoilai Novo’, has just been released.

“After Josinho died, I waited for seven years to release this album. Tony Dias was booked to arrange the music and he has done wonderfully, along with the cream of musicians from Goa,” says Jerry. The album is a treat with some great lyrics, pleasant music and fine renditions. Joanna, their daughter sings on this album too!

The couple feels that the young generation should be attracted to good Konkani music. “The young directors of tiatr today, should make an effort to bring in the young audience by presenting tiatrs which will be enjoyed by them,” says Joanita. Jerry also trains a choir of youngsters at St. Mary’s Church in Dubai and is also involved in the Konkani Charismatic group, ‘Novem Jerusalem’.

Asked if she would like to act on the stage today, and Joanita’s face lights up. “Of course, if the role is good and of my choice”.

“The entire family has a passion for Konkani music and more albums are in store. We are planning to make good videos of the songs and these will be uploaded on the net. Two videos are already on the net and have received a good viewing,” adds Jerry.

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