Wake up for Goa

To create an awakening to save Goa before it’s too late, ‘Utthat Zagat (Marta Ulo)’ – a revolutionary Konkani song featuring crusaders who have been fighting to safeguard the state alongside talented artistes, was recently released. NT BUZZ learns more


Due to the pandemic, musician Joe D’Costa who otherwise works in Mumbai, has been in Goa for over a year. During this time, he realised that a lot about his land had changed.

“It isn’t what it used to be. It was absolutely disturbing to see what’s happening in Goa,” he says. And having been closely following the work of Fr Bolmax Pereira and his team of like-minded environmentalists, activists and niz Goenkars who have been fighting to Save Mollem and protect further damage to Goa, D’Costa was moved to contribute to the cause in some way himself. And so, on impulse he called Fr Pereira one night expressing his desire to help, but through music.

“The ‘wake up’ call was needed for those who were sitting comfortably in their homes. I wanted them to feel the heat because unless we all get into this together and fight the cause, the change will not happen,” says D’Costa. The lyrics for ‘Utthat Zagat (Marta Ulo)’ flew from his heart and he’s glad that the song that took five months to complete has touched the hearts of all Goans since its release on May 30.

Most of the song has been digitally performed at Mind Vision, D’Costa’s recording studio in Panaji. Some of the live sessions had to be recorded in Mumbai studios. And because of the pandemic, it was difficult coordinating and getting the work delivered on time.

“Initially, we thought of making our Goan singers do the song but later we decided to keep it real and sing it ourselves. Since we wanted a female dhalo folk singer, Fr Bolmax suggested Pranita Gaude from Chicalim who did an excellent job,” says D’Costa. And Gaude for her part states that she feels proud to be a part of this song that is a wake-up call for Goans. Ellister Noronha, Jake Dias, and Varun D’Silva have also lent their voice to the song. The video shoot took a number of days as it was shot in different locations with different activists.

The post production of the song has been worked on by Bobby Godinho. “Working on this project was exciting because I got an opportunity to do something for Goa. It was frustrating for it took a lot of time because of obstacles and issues with logistics that would arise out of the blue. It was also very challenging to work on this project and be in sync with both the main people. I had to keep in mind the story line of Joe and the vision through the visuals of Fr Bolmax to create a film for the viewers,” he tells us. “This opportunity came to me because of Fr Bolmax. And it was a lovely experience with Sir Joe and all other people around there and I feel proud to be part of it.”

Since its release, ‘Utthat Zagat (Marta Ulo)’ has garnered close to 50K views on YouTube.

Initially, no one took the song seriously, says Fr Pereira who is happy that the song is now gaining momentum. “But that’s not enough,” he says. We haven’t done enough. We need to do more to save Goa. The agents of destruction have taken criminal advantage of our silence and fear. ‘Mhaka kiteak poddlam’ (how does it concern me) attitude seems to be deeply rooted in our ‘susegad’ lifestyle.” He adds that during protests, frantic calls to come out and come together have been ignored by many Goans so far. “Protecting our personal greedy interests and fear of potential personal loss if we get involved has done great injustice to our wounded Motherland that needs care,” he says.

D’Costa who has seen Goa slowly turning into a concrete jungle agrees, stating that all Goans irrespective of being in Goa or living abroad should fight for their land. “If we don’t wake up now, our children will suffer. In today’s day and age do we need to cut down trees, destroy our environment to bring in development? Can’t we have both existing harmoniously together?” he questions.

Fr Pereira believes that the song with soul stirring music and challenging lyrics will “help us to keep that spark alight till we gain the victory”. “This song is meant to touch the core of Niz Goenkars to come together and keep the movement going,” he says.

Talking about the movement to Save Mollem and Goa from gigantic projects that aren’t needed, Fr Pereira says that their primary attempt, particularly during this entire pandemic year has been to create awareness and share authentic information about the dangers of unsustainable destructive development that is being pushed through by greedy capitalists by using the ‘planted government’.

“Various means and ways have been adopted so far like flash mobs, art, protest rallies, memorandums, emails, press conferences, engaging with concerned authorities, and we have achieved our target to a certain extent,” he says. And the movement has diversified by different groups in their own little ways. The fight won’t end, says Fr Pereira, and songs like these and other innovations will be used, as people’s mandate cannot be buried. And as is aptly said in the song lyrics: ‘We won’t allow the red soil to turn dark-black’.