By: Antony D'Cunha, Team Mangalorean, Oman
Muscat Oct 1, 2008: Gulf Voice of Mangalore is a brainchild of Youth Recreation Centre (Rising Stars), Kuwait, in keeping with changing times and emerging trends of Music & entertainment. This dream project involving about Rs. 25 Lakhs was at conceptual stage a year ago and it took lot of hard work, co-ordination between various organizations across the Middle East, setting standards for the whole new concept, giving shape to the dream and translating the dream into a reality show "GULF VOICE OF MANGALORE".
We have been enjoying the fruit of that dream project these days and we will continue to update you on this event till the Grand Finale which is scheduled to be held in Kuwait on 17th October, 2008. After the audition, in preliminary rounds 12 Singers from Kuwait, 12 from Bahrain, 12 from Oman and 14 from U.A.E., have qualified for Semi-Finals. Muscat is the first one to participate in Semi-finals on Thursday, 2nd October, 2008 followed by U.A.E., on Friday, 3rd October, 2008, Bahrain on October 9th and Kuwait on 15th October, 2008 and during that process 2 singers will be selected from each country. The grand finale will be held on October 17th 2008 in Kuwait.
The team of professionals has already arrived in Oman and the jury is "Father of Modern Konkani Music" Wilfy Rebimbus, "Yodelling King" Melwyn Peres, and Joel Pereira – a well known composer and the "the trend setter of Konkani Nirantari fame". Renowned artiste Leslie Rego with excellent oratory skills & command over Konkani will be the master compere of the show. Konkan Maina Meena Rebimbus is also the part of this team along with other Musicians such as Melwyn Fernandes, Joswin Pinto, Christoper Mascarenhas, Alwyn Fernandes and Theodore Alvares.
Face to face with Wilfy and Meena Rebimbus
It is said that the people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. But one man in the 1950s determined/chose to build bridges by way of Music. He is none other than our own Wilfred Gerald Rebimbus popularly known as Wilfy Rebimbus. He is regarded as the Father of Modern Konkani Music. The lady who supported him through this difficult journey is Meena Rebimbus. Many may be unaware that her maiden name is Muriel Pinto. The transition or transformation of Muriel Pinto into Meena Rebimbus is altogether another story. But today Wilfy and Meena are regarded as the 'celebrity couple' of our Mangalorean Community and we are proud of their achievements.
Team Mangalorean met the celebrity couple Wilfy and Meena. Below is an excerpt of the interview:
TM: Your songs with befitting lyrics and music have touched the hearts of young & old alike and you have millions of fans both at home and across the globe. What is the secret of this success?
It is the fruit of my ceaseless efforts to review the issues of our community or any subject for that matter and set it in a song form in keeping with the taste & preference of masses and with a view to touch each & every heart and convey the message. This concept of mine is deep-rooted in the hearts of our people and that testimony is the secret of our success.
TM: Your current legendary image gives a rosy picture of your career but we understand that you have had tough times during early days of your life. What is your take on this?
Though I was advised to pursue other career options, the inner calling for Konkani Music prompted me to take up Konkani Music and shape my career. I started a new trend of composing songs using my own tunes while using of popular Hindi tunes for Konkani songs was customary then and it took a lot of time and determination to change this mind set of people and secure market/peoples acceptance. In those days Music was not treated as a profession and hence, we had to pursue people to subscribe and promote our concept which was not a commercially viable proposition initially. My first break through came when I pursued the idea of putting together my songs in a book form and luckily it was a remarkable success. However, the major break through came in 1979 when we started bringing out audio cassettes of our songs and our economic condition started to improve.
TM: You are an accomplished celebrity couple of our community with titles "Konkan Kogul" and "Konkan Myna" respectively. Do you have any unaccomplished dream? What is Konkani Sangeeth Natak – (Ek Novo Prayog) and who will benefit by this new experiment?
Yes, we have lot of unaccomplished dreams and main one being, to promote Konkani Sangeeth Natak involving the youngsters and stage it in different places which involve dance and drama with singing. This needs a lot of practice and financial support from sponsors to meet the expenses; only then it could be staged and our dream will be fulfilled.
TM: In a career spanning about 5 decades, you have written & staged many plays, composed more than 2,500 songs, staged more than 245 "Wilfy Nites", released 39 albums and 1 instrumental album, what is the future of Konkani Music according to you?
There is a great scope for Konkani Music as our younger generation has started showing interest and is pursuing Konkani Music. However, the credit goes to parents for focusing this concept in our young talents.
TM: Will "Gulf Voice of Mangalore" deliver the results as expected or it is just the new beginning?
We have witnessed good times and bad times in the industry. These are the changing times currently emerging in the market and if we don't move with the trend we will be left behind. Therefore, it is an appropriate step towards this change and in my opinion it is going to be an annual event if handled professionally with strong financial support as the event itself involves lot of ground work, co-ordination and sacrifice by the people involved.
TM: Who was your role model and inspiration behind these numerous achievements, titles & honours conferred on you over the years?
I am from a family where singing was a traditionally accepted concept and hence, my upbringing was evolved in these areas of interest. At a young age itself I gradually started refining my skills and with the help of Jesuit priests I could give a proper shape to my dreams. Though it was tough initially, later people accepted and supported us to the fullest. In testimony of that acceptance we were honoured with appropriate titles and it is a great sense of satisfaction to us.
TM: Any memorable event or incident which is close to your heart and you want to share that moment with us at this point of time as a motivation to other upcoming talents of our community?
From realization of dreams into transition to success, we cherish every moment and are indebted to the people who extended a helping hand towards us in our journey. Those are the moments and people we can never forget in our life time. However, I would like to pin point one incident which I personally feel as a great compliment. It was some years back when I went to Goa to participate in a Konkani Kavi Sammelan. There was one well known personality by the name Pundalik Shenoy who not only relayed my contribution to Konkani Music to the people present there but also made me to sing one of my Golden Hits for the audience and that resulted in loud round of applause.
TM: Besides singing, you both are involved in many organizations such as United Youngsters Konkani Cultural Association, Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Konkani Natak Sabha, St. Joseph's Natak Sangh, etc., what these organizations are aiming at?
These are the organizations which promote our culture and tradition. We have now become a part and parcel of it.
TM: Would you like to continue Music as your family tradition and some day pass on the baton to your Son - Vishwas or Daughter – Veena?
Both our offsprings are doing well and have interest in Konkani Music. We have given equal opportunity to both. However, taking up Konkani Music as a career is entirely up to them.
TM: What is the message you want to convey to all your fans?
We are happy to note that all over the Middle East and in particular Oman, the parents and community organizations are doing an excellent job in inculcating our culture into our young minds and it is evident by the fact that more & younger people are coming forward to shoulder the responsibility to showcase our culture and tradition. Keep up the good work and move forward.
Mangalorean.com wishes both Wilfy and Meena all the very best in their future endeavours and thanks them for sharing a few of their thoughts and dreams with the readers.
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