Jun 20, 2008
Dubai-based NRI Benedict Lobo from Goa, is doing his best in helping Konkani music transcend its traditional boundaries and be available worldwide, through his unique initiative, Radiogoa.
Today, this internet-based music network is a hit with resident and non-resident Goans alike. ‘Being an NRI residing in Dubai, I came across people here listening to internet radio in Malayalam, Tamil, and other languages and thought to myself why not Konkani,’ says Lobo.
Thus was born Radiogoa.net, a non-profit making venture. The station aims to promote Konkani music worldwide and provides a global platform for Konkani artists, especially new talent. The network is funded entirely by donations from Konkani music lovers.
He said that the actual idea was conceived when his US-based friend asked Lobo to send him some Konkani CDs as he was longing to hear some old Konkani songs. ‘Konkani music is not available in the US easily. A similar complaint was echoed by another friend of mine in Canada,’ recalled Lobo.
‘I wanted to take the idea of Radiogoa further and create a radio service that not only broadcasts good music but provides interactivity with the listener. It had to be different and better then the existing radio stations,’ he adds. For this, he developed the software in-house.
In UK, the service is supported by NRI Goan Rene Barreto, and back home in Goa by Cheryl Lobo. Radiogoa promoters feel that Konkani music is losing its magic today, as it lacks originality now.
‘Most of the Konkani music released today has lyrics set to popular Western tunes. We have a real-time voting system on Radiogoa which helps us calculate the popularity of any song. I must say the old hits are most popular on the network even though we play the latest hits as well,’ Lobo remarked. He added that there were some exceptions such as the album ‘Dini Dini’ by Melvyn Rodrigues.
While transporting music from one corner of globe to another has traditionally been an arduous task, the boundaries have vanished with the onset of online radio. ‘Online radio does not have any geographical restrictions, which is why we can reach any Goan or Mangalorean anywhere on this planet if he has access to a internet connection,’ enthuses Lobo.
But with accessibility, the issue of piracy also raises its ugly head. ‘Though this is a debatable issue, I would not call it piracy as we don’t allow anyone to download music on our site. To further protect the content, we have a very low bit-rate for both the streams which is much below FM quality unlike some national and international internet radio stations which broadcast CD quality,’ he assured. Radiogoa has taken copyright permission for almost 80 per cent of the content.
‘Konkani music industry is currently not as organized as their national and international counterparts and it has been a struggle to get contacts of the copyright holders, especially for the old songs. We have not received any complaints from any Goan artist so far and all have been appreciative of this project. If we do get any objections, we will take their music off-air immediately,’ concluded Lobo.