Legendary Wilfy Rebimbus - A fond recollection on 75th anniversary

Mangaluru, Apr 2: The entire Konkani world would have been rejoicing in the celebration of his platinum jubilee birthday if Wilfy Rebimbus were amongst us on April 2, 2017. But Almighty God wished him to be by His side on this great day.

'Pangla', the place where I was born and brought up has found a mention in the lyrics of Wilfy's song 'Bela – Izabela' (5th Vol) as 'Kalle Panglaache, Nalle Manglurche, Sarvaani Baari Borem Mullham'. I first saw Wilfy - the legendary personality - in the church premises of Pangla (Shankerpura). That was during the mid 1970s. The Pangla-born Fr Manuel D'Souza was the parish priest of Jeppu. In the month of May Fr Manuel had arranged a performance of Wilfy and Group in Pangla. During those years being a student of St John's Higher Primary School, Shankerpura, I enjoyed the melodies of Wilfy, Meena and other members of the group.

"Meenaa… ek chaa haadmaa….": In the late 1970s, I started studying in the Karnataka Polytechnic (KPT), Mangalore. With the guidance of Fr Stanley Pereira, the then director of Canara Communications Centre, and afterwords Fr Henry D'Souza who followed him as director of CCC (now the bishop of Ballari), I organized a group of Catholic students of KPT under the banner 'Young Technicians Movement' (YTM). Moreover during those years I was gaining prominence in the Central Council of Catholic Youth Movement (CYM) of the diocese of Mangaluru. In connection with the activities of my organizations, I met Wilfy for the first time at his residence - 'Magdalene'. That was around 1980. Wilfy was quite popular by then. I was an ordinary student and quite lean at that time. But I liked the humble Wilfy on my very first visit. He welcomed me politely. Wilfy spoke with me as if I were his important guest. It seems Meena Rebimbus was in the kitchen busy with her work. Wilfy requested her saying "Meenaa… ek chaa haadmaa….". I cherish these words even today. Thereafter, I visited their residence several times and every time I did not return without having 'ek chaa..' from the hands of Meena.

Pangla had a close link with Wilfy:
At Pangla, we had a drama association by name – St John's Natak Sabha, Shankerpura. I was active in that association during 1980's as its Secretary and later as President. The Silver Jubilee of the Natak Sabha was celebrated from 23-25 November 1985. On November 25 J B Rasquinha (the then vice-president of Konkani Natak Sabha, Mangaluru) was the chief guest and Wilfy and Meena were the guests of honour. Wilfy released the souvenir (of about 120 pages) while Meena gave away the prizes. They even sang a song. Members of the Association played Wilfy's drama 'Bebdyaachi Dhuv'.

On another occasion, CYM Pangla enacted his famous drama 'Kedi Bona BA'.

In the year 1988 we started Parish Bulletin by the name 'Panglacho Prakas' (4 issues a year). The then parish priest Fr J P Tauro was the Publisher and myself as Editor. I edited this magazine for 6 years. All those years the magazine was printed in Wilfy's 'Vishwas Prints'.

I had contested for the post of President of the Students' Council of SDM Law College, Mangaluru. With Wilfy's co-operation my publicity material was printed in his press overnight. Wedding invitations of self and Concepta were also printed there. Apart from that whatever printing jobs required for my activities were done at 'Vishwas Prints'. Moreover I was a regular contributor for 'Umallo' – Wilfy's Konkani monthly under the editorship of CGS Taccode.

We had arranged 'Wilfy Nites' in Pangla parish twice (I was the secretary of the parish council) in aid of the new 'St John's Sabha Bhavan' of Pangla. The first one was on December 9, 1989 and the 2nd one was on December 7, 1991. Both recorded tremendous success fetching us over Rs 4 lac (which was a huge amount at that time). Over 3,000 people (each time) from near and far away places like Kundapur, Kinnigoli, Karkala etc had attended both the nites.

I had the privilege to conduct the stage programme of Wilfy's golden birthday celebrations held at Town Hall, Mangaluru on April 2, 1992.

Wilfy's spoken words are still alive in All India Radio: For All India Radio, Mangaluru station I had interviewed Wilfy twice in Konkani. The first one in mid 1980s and the 2nd one on March 19, 2001(AIR Mangaluru will broadcast this interview during one of these days). Wilfy being a man of perfection had invited me on both the occasions to his residence for a prior discussion.

The mega programme regarding the life and works of Wilfy Rebimbus was aired on July 30, 2009 from all the 13 stations of All India Radio in Karnataka at the prime time (9.30 pm). It was in Kannada by name 'Konkani Sugama Sangeetha Manthrika – Wilfy Rebimbus'. I wrote the script and the documentary was produced by (my wife) Concepta Fernandes, programme executive of All India, Mangaluru. This programme was sponsored by Felix Lobo of Doha Qatar - the great fan and supporter of Wilfy. CGS Taccode was instrumental in availing this sponsorship of air time. After listening to the broadcast, the elated Wilfy called us over the phone immediately and thanked us for presenting him in such an apt manner. That was his simplicity and greatness. It was for the first time that a Konkani artiste was introduced through Kannada to the mass listeners of AIR numbering over a crore people. AIR Mangaluru has received appreciation calls from many parts of Karnataka. This programme was adjudged as the 2nd best programme of that year in the category of documentary. After winning the award same programme was aired once again in November 2009. Wilfy's talking voice is still alive in the archieves of All India Radio, Mangaluru.

On August 2, 2009, United Youngsters arranged 'Sentimental Nite' at Dr TMA Pai International Convention Centre, Mangaluru. The entry was through passes. For many a programme we were getting invitations / passes from Wilfy himself. But for the above programme, we didn't get passes as perhaps the organizers had forgotten us. Though Wilfy was not enjoying good health those days during one of the phone conversations he enquired whether we had received entry passes. I said 'no'. By then all passes were distributed over and above the capacity of the auditorium. But somehow Wilfy managed 2 passes and sent the same on the previous day of the programme. That was the love Wilfy had shown towards us. We admire his kind gesture and cherish the same.

Whenever his books were published Wilfy used to present a copy to us with his signature. We too have presented him books published from 'Mariads Publications'. We presented him a copy of 'Vozram' book in January 2010 in the presence of its author – Dr Austin D' Souza Prabhu, Chicago at his residence. On that day we never thought that Wilfy would leave us so quickly.

I have not seen such a gem elsewhere:
During all these years I have met a lot of people. But I have rarely met a humble, down to earth personality like Wilfy. Almost during the last decade of his life he had everything – name, fame and even wealth for that matter. But Wilfy was the same simple, humble person that he was during his struggling days.

Along with my wife Concepta, children Harsha and Heera – I cherish the melodious voice in singing and soft in talking and the humility a person could ever have.

Millions of people who had come in contact with Wilfy or having heard his sweet melodious voice will remember him not only on the commemoration day of his platinum birthday but also every day.

Happy platinum birthday to you, Wilfy. I am sure you are singing in heaven.



By H R Alva
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Comment on this article

  • Ansuya Gomes, Belthangady/Bristol UK

    Tue, Apr 04 2017

    Thank you Mr Alva for your lovely article about Wilfyab. He lives in our hearts forever . We enjoy listening to his beautiful and meaningful songs . Rest in peace Wilfyab . We miss you .
    Brazil Gomes n fly

  • Max and Jessie Rasquinha, Mangalore, Houston/Dallas, Texas

    Mon, Apr 03 2017

    Thank you so much, Mr. H. r. Alva, for your wonderful coverage on late Wilfy Rebimbos in rememberance of his 75th Birthday. Wilfy Rebimbos was an unusual mould, a special gift from God to the world of Konkany Music. Having known Wilfy from his childhood, right behind our home, where lies the famous Mangala Restaurant where he lived along with his entire family, a humble God fearing group. Wilfy's unusual talents in Konkany music always amazed our entire family, and we admired his willingness to create the group called United Youngsters, and his continued efforts to promote Konkany music in Mangalore is truly adorable.

    We still remember, several decades ago, when we visited on our vacation from Saudi Arabia, Wilfy and his usual gang appeared in our home for a musical performance, and there was a young shy lady called Meena accompanied Wilfy and sang a duet together. The same night we conversed with each other and somehow felt within our heart that Wilfy and Meena will be partners for life and our feelings soon came true. They were blessed with two talented children, Veena and Vishwas, and they too were equally talented in the Konkany music. One true fact that we all should proudly recognize is that Wilfy's partnership with Meena doubled the quality of their joint performance. To a great extent, we feel, that Meena's strong support to Wilfy strengthened all his inner capabilities of music as well as lyrics that brought so much of name and fame for the Rebimbos family. Today, thank God, Meena is still vibrant and active in all her talents, and so also Veena and her husband, as well as Vishwas and his talented wife Charlene. All these remaining family members of Rebimbos group need our continued support - moral as well as financial so that they can continue their mission and enrich the name of Wilfy Rebimbos even further.

    Our home in Texas is filled with Wilfy's musical creations and we whisper a small prayer so that he may rest in peace.

  • Cyril Martis, Pangla/Ottawa/Canada

    Mon, Apr 03 2017

    Excellent article by HR, who is my next door neighbour from Pangla. A fitting tribute. I had the privilege attending Wilfy's functions in Pangla, Mangalore, Brahmavar & Toronto. We lost a great legend. He lives in our heart forever.

    Keep up the good work Harry.

  • ceaser ferrnandes, london/pangla

    Mon, Apr 03 2017

    Dear H..R.Alva,,Thank you so much for lovely artical About konkani legend Wilfiy Rebimbus,,,I never get chance to see him .Like you said me also grown up with his wonderfull konkani love songs,we KKL LONDON ,Did 262 Wilfiy Nite.He was great singer..may his soul rest in peace.

  • Anish Claude, Udupi Mudarangady

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    very nice article

  • sr hildegard sra, Soraba

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    Happy 75Th Birthday to you as you enjoy in heavenly abode. May your soul rest in Peace.

  • Stephan, Israel

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    Thank you HR Alva for my fav singer's article tribute on his 75th birth anniversary

  • Sugandhi, Houston

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    I have grown listening to Wilfy's music. I watched live action of tribute show from twonhall...tears rolled down from my eyes. Thanks Daiji for this coverage

  • Alban Rodrigues, Canada/Pangla

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    A very apt tribute to Wilfy for the platinum b'day from our H.R.Alva. Harry keep writing more articles in Daiji on other issues. Good job.

  • FRANCIS, Dubai

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    A well deserved write up and a befitting tribute from H.R. Alva to the Legend Wilfy Rebimbus who reigned the Konkani music with his beautiful lilting songs, good tunes and meaningful lyrics.

    We will cherish your songs and lyrics forever....

    Wish you a HAPPY 75 BIRTHDAY

  • THERESA LOBO, Mukamar,Sharjah - U.A.E.

    Sun, Apr 02 2017


  • CGS, Mangalore

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    Thank you H.R. for your wonderful write up. A loving tribute to the Legendary Wilfy Rebimbus on his 75th Birthday.

  • Antony Cony D Souza, Karkala/Qatar

    Sun, Apr 02 2017

    On your platinum Birthday today, with a thankful heart would like to say that the little things you did for us have turned into big a difference in the Konkani world as Ever.

    Wishing you a happy 75th birthday Wilfyab; Heavens above.

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