From the editor’s desk :
It gives me immense pleasure to wish you and your family a very happy Easter! May the peace and joy of the risen Christ reign in your hearts and minds today and throughout your lives.
After listening to my earlier melodious musical chords, on this great occasion of Easter, I wish to present to you as an ‘Easter Egg’, one of the most beautiful musical chords of our dear ‘Maibhas Konkani’ who is none other than ‘So phutiso goond ganv’ fame “Kalaa Ratna” (late) Jerome D’Souza.
Blessed with a golden voice of silken variation, smoothing expression, matched with personality of attraction and admiration, Jerome was a born artiste. While the Mangalorean singing desert was scorching by copying Hindi film tunes, he, as a youngster, was daring with his self-confidence, survival instincts to be a spring, a fountain-head of originality. With sheer hard work and determination he nurtured and nourished his God given talents to be the pioneer of Mangalorean Konkani song composition. His gentle voice like a dew drop on a fragile leaf would hold the audience spellbound with renditions like ‘Yo re mogha thuka ashethaan’, ‘Bahrain chi Chit’ while melodies like ‘Naas Konkanaanth’ ‘Chinch Pokli’ ‘Guvndaaylo’ make hip gyrating!
Although the great Jerome left this earth for his heavenly reward six years ago, his most popular songs like ‘So phutiso goond ganv’, ‘Xegunnachi sunn’, ‘Mayn thi mayn’, ‘Taxi chalanewala’ still resounds in music lovers ears. I was one of the fortunate singers, who had a great privilege to sing for his famous ‘Jerome Nite’ in the year 1979 at the Town Hall, Mangalore organized by C.A.L. Bendur under the leadership of then President Shri Austin D’Souza Prabhu, currently residing at Chicago, U.S.
This musical chord is really a very special episode for me for the simple reason that I have struggled almost 2 years to get Jerome’s profile to appear on this renowned portal. It is my long time dream which has come true. I am highly indebted to Shri Ancy Palladka of Mumbai and Shri Santosh Kevin Nazareth of Dubai for being instrumentals to get the data for this profile.
I specially thank the renowned writers Shri J.B.Moraes, Shri Walter Monteiro and Shri Hemacharya for their participation by sending their Tributes.
Once again I thank you for your great support and I am sure you will really enjoy listening to one of my best Do..Re..Me..Fa.. musical chords.
Yours in risen Christ,
‘KALAA RATNA’ - (late) SHRI JEROME D’SOUZA
THE PIONEER OF MODERN KONKANI MUSIC.
Born in Mangalore, blossomed in Bombay, (late) Shri Jerome D’Souza is the initiator, original composer and singer in the history of Mangalorean Konkani music. He grew up in an era of imitational Konkani music. Those were the days when Konkani hymns consisted of translated words from English or Latin and fitted with western tunes. The songs for Konkani Dramas and other social occasions used to be Hindi tunes dubbed or fitted with Konkani words! Jerome D’Souza changed the whole scenario. He, with his original lyrics and tunes, gave to Konkani music a distinct identity of its own. He was a visionary who set the trend for original composition and rendition of Konkani songs.
EARLY LIFE IN MANGALORE:-
Jerome D’Souza was born in Cascia Parish of Mangalore on 4th March 1933. His parents were Gregory and Theresa D’Souza. He had only one sister, by the name of Sr. Faustine, who is a nun in Raichur,
Jerome did his schooling at St. Aloysius, Mangalore, where he showed a keen interest in music. There he studied western music notations from a German Jesuit priest, learnt to play ‘Picolo’ instrument and when he was just 9 years old composed his first song on Sr. Alphonso! He also participated actively in Music Band competitions.
After his High School studies, at the age of 19, Jerome composed music for a Konkani drama written by M.P.D’Sa and staged by Konkani Natak Sabha, Mangalore. He was also playing ‘Picolo’ for Shippa Maesthry Music Band in Bijai. He also composed songs and music for the drama “Viswasak Ghaath” written by Walter Derebail.
JEROME BLOSSOMS IN BOMBAY:-
Gradually Jerome’s reputation in music started to spread. At this time the reputed Bombay’s playwright J.M.B. Rodricks was planning to produce a Konkani movie “Sukhi Konn”. An invitation was extended to Jerome to compose songs and music for the film through Henry Rodricks, the brother of the Playwright. Later, Jerome moved to Bombay and started working there. In Bombay he learnt Hindustani music notations and ‘Raaga Alaap’. He developed his musical ability and grew in stature in the Konkani music world of Bombay.
Later, in his own time, Jerome married Agnes and had two children, Rayan and Reena, all of who are good and reputed singers. After an active music career, Jerome expired on his birthday on 4th March 2000 at the age of 67. His family resides at Mira Road /Borivli, Bombay.
• At the age of 20, Jerome started singing Konkani songs on All India Radio, Bombay.
• At the age of 23, he started recording for H.M.V. then the biggest music Company.
• Jerome was in great demand on stage for Konkani dramas and ‘theatres’ of Bombay.
• He has composed more than 3000 songs in Konkani, Tulu, Kannada, Marathi and Hindi languages.
• He has released 12 cassettes of his own original songs.
• In 1976, Jerome D’Souza’s cassette was the first Konkani music cassette ever to be produced.
• Jerome has published 2 books of his songs collection namely, Amchim Podam Vol.1, and Vol.2.
• Jerome’s greatest achievement in life may be his singing with Mohammed Rafi.
• He has assisted Music Director Jathin Lalith.
• He has also worked with the music director Mr. Ravi.
AWARDS & HONOURS
• In 1952, at the age of 19, Jerome was awarded with a medal for folk songs and dances on the Republic Day by the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Yashwant Rao Chavan.
• “Konkan Taram” has vested on Jerome with a title called “Kalaa Ratna”.
• Jerome also is an awardee of Cine Singers card.
• “Kalasamithi” of Poinnari Weekly has awarded trophies to Jerome for three successive years.
Jerome is a story writer as well. He has written 25 stories. Added to it, he has written numerous skits for Air India Radio. His plays have been successfully staged in Bombay.
In the beginning stage of his music venture, he has rendered background music for the Konkani plays.
Some of Jerome’s memorable and very popular songs are: “Xegunnachi Sunn”, “Mai thi mai”, “Taxi chalanewala”, “Chinchpokli” etc…
The song “Xegunnachi Sunn” in particular was once a rage among music lovers. Even now it is being sung and played by Music Bands during weddings. The song is also prominently played when the newly wed bride makes her entry into the wedding hall after wearing the “saddo”!
Jerome’s house is a “House of Music”. All the members of his house are lovers of music. His wife Agnes was a co-singer with him on All India Radio. His son Rayan plays music for “Pink Spider”, a well known Beat Group in Bombay. His daughter Reena sings for Konkani and Hindi music shows organized in Bombay and abroad as well.
Jerome’s unfulfilled dream was to become a Hindi music director and to travel abroad for Konkani shows. He was named as the music director for 3 Hindi films, but unfortunately someone’s envy and dirty game deprived him to be the director.
TRIBUTES TO JEROME
After a brilliant career in music, Jerome went to his heavenly abode on 4th March, 2000, at a relatively young age to sing the praises and glory of his Creator. Many tributes have appeared in his honour written by his close friends and associates in Music. Following are some of the extracts from the various tributes showered on him posthumously:
1. Tribute by Shri Walter Monteiro:-
(Shri Walter Monteiro, a multi-faceted talented personality, is a great friend of (late) Jerome D’Souza who has sung with him on Radio in Mumbai. He is a renowned playwright, presently residing at Udupi and a very active member of Mother of Sorrows Church, Udupi.)
“The ‘original’ Jerome D’Souza with his sheer hard work and determination, nurtured and nourished his God-given talents to be the pioneer of Mangalorean Konkani song composition……..The self made ‘Konkan Star’ not only sired the art of self composition of Mangalorean Konkani songs but mothered their rendition as well……Like there may be Rafis and Kishores but not another Talat Mahmood, so too there will be no another original Jerome!.....I will never ever bid him farewell because his memories in the song of life forever dwell!”
2. Tribute by Shri J.B.Moraes:-
(Shri J.B. Moraes is a close friend and a great fan of (late) Jerome D’Souza. He is one of the greatest writers and a seasoned poet in Konkanni. He is also a great Konkanni activist of Mumbai, and a winner of Konkanni Sahitya Academy Award)
“The Singer Par Excellance, Jerome D’Souza was a class by himself…..His voice had a unique quality never seen before. He could hold his own with any singer of his time…..His untimely death is an irreparable loss for the entire Community.”
3. Tribute by Shri Hemacharya:-
(Shri Stephen Mascarenhas, popularly known by his pen-name “Hemacharya” is closely connected with (late) Jerome D’Souza. He is a short storywriter, a novelist, a playwright and a journalist. According to him, he is more of a 'Konkani Activist with an open mind towards other languages’. He is on 'Daijiworld.com' Editorial Board and currently is the convenor of Daiji Dubai, the forum of Konkani writers in the U.A.E.)
“Jerome D’Souza had a golden voice which had a class of its own….He was a great composer….He used to compose music even while being in the middle of a conversation!”
Yes, indeed, the great Star of Konkan Music is no more, but the legend and his works live on!