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Chronicles of the King of Melody

Konkani activist and author Isidore Dantas from Pune recently released a book ‘Alfred Rose – The King of Melody’ in Goa. The book that is available at the Directorate of Art and Culture covers various facets of the musician’s life including some not known to many. The author speaks to NT BUZZ

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

He may have passed on long ago, but his legacy continues. Indeed, Alfred Rose, fondly known as ‘The King of Melody’, still manages to capture hearts of the younger generation through his music even today.

And now Konkani activist and a dear friend of late Alfred Rose, Isidore Dantas has recently published a Konkani book titled ‘Alfred Rose – The King of Melody’.

The book delves into the life of one of the Goa’s greatest musicians, and includes his music with notations, songs, and achievements, besides presenting 409 photographs that bring the book to life and make it extremely enjoyable to read. ‘Alfred Rose – The King of Melody’, is divided into 21 chapters covering his life journey; his many firsts, and 55 songs that include the popular ones and those with a message.

The author Isidore Dantas who retired as an assistant general manager of State Bank of India tells NT BUZZ that the book also has information about the connection Alfred Rose had with film, his musical shows, his awards and accolades. There is a chapter on his personal life too that details his marriage with Rita Rose. In fact, the book also features a touching account of Rita Rose about the relationship she shared with her late musician husband. Besides this, there is also another chapter wherein people from all walks of life have paid tribute to him through various writings. These include politicians, the clergy, tiatrists, singers, musicians, writers, and fans.

During the book release function, several artistes put forth a demand through the Department of Art and Culture to name the upcoming Ravindra Bhavan in Mapusa after Alfred Rose- the son of the soil.

Excerpts from an interview:

Q. Why did you decide to write a book on Alfred Rose?

When the matter arose about the need to preserve the works of Alfred Rose for posterity, I felt the need to write a book on Alfred Rose and detail his entire career in various fields for people to know him thoroughly.

Q.  Can you take us back in time and tell us about the relationship you shared with him?

As a Konkani activist, I loved the language and tiatrs and often wanted to stage tiatrs in Pune for which funds were needed. I had an option to stage tiatrs of Bombay tiatrists in Pune. So, I started with the tiatrs of Alfred Rose and also of C Alvares, MJ D’Lima and Chris Perry. During this time my relation with Alfred Rose grew as I liked his personality, mainly his down to earth nature. He was also very systematic in the way he dealt with everything. He could charm and entertain spectators with his tiatrs and songs.

Q. How much of effort did you put before the book went to print? What all did you have to do?

It took three long and tireless years to obtain inputs from various sources. Another two years were spent to compile the book from the material that was available with the family of Alfred Rose. After five long years it finally saw the light of day on August 21, 2019

Q. Can you share with us a few details of what a reader will get from the book?

Readers will get a full view of Alfred Rose’s life across various fields that he worked in – singer, composer, writer, music director, besides being a great philanthropist. 55 selected songs have been included in the book, some with notations, as Goans like to play his songs on various instruments to entertain themselves, thus being helpful to musicians who revere Alfred Rose and his music.

Q. Why did you decide to write the book in Konkani and not in English?

Since I have been a writer, writing in Konkani I wanted to write this book in Konkani so that it gets a deserving place in all fields.

Q. How has Alfred Rose’s family supported the book?

I received full support from his beloved wife Rita who trusted and permitted me to write the book from the many who wanted to pen the same.

Q. You must have received a few suggestions and feedback about the book. Can you share with us some of them?

The book has just been released and suggestions are slowly coming in. One suggestion is that it should be released in English, (the manuscript of which is already ready with me). It will benefit those who cannot read Konkani. Another suggestion received was to include guitar chords for the notations. Some readers have also asked that more of his English songs with notations be added. All these suggestions are being considered.

Q. How do you spend life in Pune being a Konkani language activist?

After my retirement from bank service, I have fully devoted my time for the cause of Konkani. So far I have published nine books excluding this one. They include three on Konkani cinema in all the three major scripts of Konkani, one on Konkani proverbs, and a quiz book on the Goan Diaspora. Also there are two translations of the books that include a Modern English Konkani dictionary. I have been extensively contributing to Konkani Wiktionary and Konkani Wikipedia besides doing translations for reputed clients.

Q. So, what are you working on next?

I am working on research work related to the field of Konkani and other Goan matters.

Q. In your opinion how can we preserve Konkani so that future generations will use the language?

I feel it is the duty of every Goan to propagate Konkani in his or her own little way, not just by speaking about preserving the language, but by action. Konkani needs to be used in our daily life-in every way possible. Otherwise, I believe that there is a danger that this beautiful language of ours might become extinct.

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