Aug 6, 2012
From the editor’s desk :-
Dear Konkani music lovers,
In the beginning.....
In the year 2002 just after the most cherished ‘Monti Fest’ celebration, the ever favorite web portal ‘www.daijiworld.com’ gave a precious gift to its browzers and exclusively for Konkani music lovers, a gift of a unique music column namely ‘Do..Re..Me..Fa..’ The objective of this special column was to disseminate knowledge about Konkani music among the Konkani speaking community scattered across the globe, about the great Konkani musical legends and renowned artistes who have contributed immensely and enriched Konkani Music to its present level. It is also an endeavor to bring to light the hidden talents of budding music artistes and to encourage them by way of promoting their musical recordings and cassettes, and also to try to share the taste of Konkani Music with non-Konkani compère groups and introduce to them our musical geniuses.
Between the years 2002 and 2012…..
Almost a decade has passed. A decade filled with over 50 beautiful musical chords of great Konkani music legends, whose contributions to the ‘Konkani Music’ was worth mentioning and immeasurable. It started with the all time great music maestro Rev.Fr.Walter Albuquerque S.J., followed by the father of Konkani Music Konkan Kogull Amar Wilfy Rebimbus, and followed it up with a series of renowned Konkani composers / musicians & singers. Although I am thrilled to boast about my achievements in presenting Konkani's greatest music legends, I feel so lonely today without the presence of some of the legends like 'Konkan Kugull' Wilfy Rebimbus, 'Gumtanso Rai' Joachim Pereira, 'To-God-through- music' fame Patrick Carlo, 'Music Maestro' Prof. Bennett Pinto, 'Prolific & Versatile Music Star' Mick-Max & 'Konkani singer of Talent & Repute' Denis Peris, who were very close to my heart and were with us when we started this Do..Re..Me..Fa.. journey together, who have now moved to their heavenly bliss. All the more, most of them shed tears of joy after reading their own profile and comments / wishes from their fans on this very web portal with their own living eyes. As for me, 'tears of joy' they shed after reading their own profiles on this unique music column, is the greatest accomplishment that I ever achieved in my entire life!
In the year 2006 a life changing event took place in my life. Together with my family, I decided to immigrate to the distant North American State of Canada. Due to initial settling down struggles in a new country of adoption, I was compelled to neglect many of my passions including Do..Re..Me..Fa..! As a result I was unable to present any music stars during the past four years and I deem these years are the Eclipse years in Do..Re..Me..Fa.. history.
Dr. T.M.A. Pai Konkani Book Appreciation Award…..
As I was going through these Eclipse years, in 2011 as a wake-up call I received incredible news that I could ever dream of! I reached on seventh heaven when I got the news that my very first book "Do..Re..Me..Fa.. Volke Groth - Poilo Bhag" that was published by Raknno Prakashan in 2006, had won the prestigious "Dr. T.M.A. Pai Konkani Book Appreciation Award". Although I was unable to make it for the Award Ceremony that was held in Manipal, Dr.Jerry Niddodi received this award on my behalf. It's truly a great honour & recognition for Konkani Music!
Do..Re..Me..Fa.. resurrected …..
As an editor, it is my prime duty to thank Almighty God for giving me this great opportunity and privilege to introduce His chosen ones, whom he has blessed with great talent of music. I thank our Blessed Virgin Mother Mary for her constant intercession and blessings. I must thank in a big way, the power behind this web portal Walter Nandalike, for the initiation and great support. In a very special way I thank my dear friend and my mentor Robert Pereira and my literary guru Clarence Pinto Kaikamba for their unassuming help and incredible support throughout my Do..Re..Me..Fa.. journey.
I have no words left to thank the highly talented journalist Florine Roche for joining me in my music journey in presenting you the most melodious musical chords. Being in Mangalore, she would represent me in meeting the music stars personally to get the necessary information, face-to-face interviews and preparing their profiles.
This year, we have such great pleasure in presenting you some renowned female music artistes.
It’s my duty to thank all the artistes who supported me by giving their profiles and photographs in order to make these chords all the more interesting and colorful. Finally I should not forget to thank to you all ‘Do..Re..Me..Fa..’ fans. It is you who appreciated these beautiful chords by faithfully reading and commenting on each and every chord.
As I glance at the vast Konkan skies… I can see a dazzling and Diamond studded star who reigned as a Konkani Music Melody Queen for decades and this star whom I am referring to, is none other than… one and only Konkan Maina… Meena! I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy listening to this extra-ordinary musical chord!
Thank you once again and God Bless us all. See you soon with yet another special Konkani Music chord next month, same place.
Yours in ‘Do..Re..Me..Fa..’
Gerry D'Mello, Bendur
Konkan Maina - Rebimbus Meena
The Melody Queen continues to Enthrall Konkani music Lovers
The name Mural Gratia Pinto may not be familiar to most Konkani music lovers. But the very mention of Meena Rebimbus popularly known as “Konkan Maina”, strikes an instant chord of recognition among all Konkani music lovers. It is going to be 50 years since this nightingale has begun to lend her mellifluous voice to enrich Konkani music and it goes on. Together with her husband the late Wilfy Rebimbus, who can be rightly called as the doyen of Konkani music, she has rendered yeoman’s service to Konkani music. Her contribution to Konkani music is unparalleled and legendary.
Meena was born on November 21, 1946 in Jeppu, Mangalore. She is the only child of her parents late Baptist Pinto and late Mary Pinto. Her original name was Mural, which was a sort of tongue-twister and hence was known by her pet name ‘Meena’ at home. It was her husband late Wilfy who rechristened her as Meena and ever since she is known by this name.
Meena had her education at St Mary’s High School in Jeppu but music was her main interest which was confined initially to listening to Hindi songs and humming them. Her father was a popular singer and also a well-known guitarist and there was musical atmosphere at home. He played an active role during the Second World War. When Meena was just 9 years old, he was called to serve in the country and never returned. Her Aunt Mrs. Lucy Rosario, who was the elder sister of her mom, gave helping hand in raising Meena. Her interest in music prompted her to take part in various inter-parish competitions where she created quite a stir. That was just the beginning.
Her musical journey began at the age of 16. Her first public singing was for a Tulu play of Louis Netto “Pokkade Galate” where she had to sing a background song to the tune of a Hindi film song. Wilfy, who was active in Konkani theatre then, heard her singing and was impressed. He lost no time in approaching Meena’s aunt Lucy Barros, who was her guardian and mentor, to seek her permission to allow Meena to sing in Konkani plays.
In 1963, Meena got the first opportunity to sing with Wilfy for the play “Doth Maka Naka” (I don’t want dowry) staged under the banner of his home production United Youngsters. With that began her almost 5 decades of association with Wilfy, first as a singer in his plays, then as his wife and companion and together they took Konkani music to the pinnacle of glory.
In the Sixties Meena took part in various categories including solo, duet, and group in the inter parish singing competitions, which were organized by Konkani Natak Sabha Mangalore, and had won many prizes for her Parish.
Jeppu parish had won many trophies, mostly were first place. At the Silver Jubilee year of the Konkani Natak Sabha, Meena won first place for the song – “Nehrucho Ugdas’. Also, Meena together with Wilfy won first places in Duet and Group in both male and female categories.
On January 25, 1970 Wilfy and Meena were united in matrimony and were blessed with two children Veena (1971) and Vishwas (1978). Together they blossomed as the singing couple, in the process laying a good foundation for Konkani music.
The path of the musical journey she walked through together with her husband was not really a bed of roses. Wilfy and Meena had to struggle to earn a living out of their music career, which was quite a herculean task. From 1971 onwards began the era of Wilfy Nites and together they performed in 248 Wilfy Nites in which they set the hearts of Konkani Music lovers on fire. These musical nites covered all the places in and around Dakshina Kannada, Honnavar, Shirshi, Karwar, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore and Delhi. In the Middle East - Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuwait and a historical performance in North American State Canada. They brought out Wilfy Nite cassettes, thus giving an opportunity for music lovers to listen and soak in the melody of Konkani music wherever they go.
Meena also composed many songs. To name a few the popular ones -“Nach tuka eatha ter nach Moga”, “Ya Sounsaranth”, and “Asha ”. Delhi & Bangalore Doordarshan & Akashavani Mangalore have telecasted her performance.
Meena lent her amazing sweet voice to Konkani film ‘Mog ani Maipas’ which catapulted her to the height of popularity. She has sung for other Konkani films like “Kazara Upranth”, “Bogsane” and “Padri”.
It goes to the credit of Meena that she had also acted in a musical drama, a fact which is not known to many. She was paired with Wilfy in a musical drama “Ali Baba and 40 thieves”.
So far Meena has sung more than 2000 songs and has performed as the background singer for more than 300 plays. She has been the leading female singer of Wilfy’s 42 Cd’s and 6 devotional Cd’s.
Meena is a very devout person who attends the first mass at 5.45 am and leads the choir in Jeppu parish daily, except during out of town shows. This has become a routine for her she says. Her melodious voice truly adds a zing in the choir. Whatever we have achieved is only because of God's blessings on our family. HE has always protected and blessed us in every way she says. Meena has strong faith in St. Joseph the patron of Jeppu parish. Every program Meena and Wilfy began in the name of Jesus through St. Joseph. Meena says that it's their duty to praise and thank Him for his blessings showered upon them. So, whenever she's in Mangalore, without fail she attends the first mass and praises God. Meena is an active member of Jeppu Choir for the past 30 years. She also loves cooking and gardening.
In return Konkani music aficionados patronized her with love, admiration, affection and respect and awards began to pour in steadily in recognition of her valuable contributions to Konkani music.
For Meena her husband was her companion, guide and mentor and after his demise in March 2010, she has not been unable to carry on life with the same verve and vivacity. She feels it is her duty to continue from where Wilfy has left. Wilfy had a dream to organize the 250th Wilfy Nite in a grand manner. Now Meena has taken up the onerous task of fulfilling this dream. The 250th Wilfy Nite will be held at TMA Pai Hall on 23rd December 2012, which she says is an effort in the right direction to continue the dreams of Wilfy. She is also determined to bring out the unreleased songs of Wilfy and give a helping hand to her children. Both Veena and Vishwas have started composing their own songs and she is confident her children will take forward their father’s rich legacy.
Awards & recognitions
Meena has been felicitated and awarded with the following titles in her music career spanning 5 decades.
- 1984 - “Konkan Maina” From Benar Production & also a Gold Medal
- 1996 - “Konkanni Podanchi Rani ” From Broad View , Kala Sampath Lions
- 1999 - “Shatamananthli Adarsh Potin ” from Chintpachi Manchi Kuwait
- 1999 - “Life time Achievement Award” from MCC, Association Doha Qatar
- 2003 - Felicitated by Kuwait Farwania Friends Circle.
- 2006 – Felicitated By Jeppu Parishioners & St.Joseph Natak Sangh.
- 2011 – Felicitated by the Mangalore Cultural Association Doha Qatar.
Meena turns nostalgic as she talks about her 40 years of life’s journey with Wilfy. Initially when her mother hesitated to encourage her singing in plays, it was her mother’s elder sister Aunt Lucy Barros who encouraged Meena by giving her consent. Though she did not have formal training in music, she gives credit to Jesuit fathers mainly Fr Walter Albuquerque and Fr. Oswald Mascarenhas for giving the initial foundation in music through the choir music. She, however, considers Wilfy as her mentor and guru who she says created a conducive atmosphere for her talent to blossom.
Recalling one incident she says when her aunt expressed her apprehensions saying no one will marry Meena if she goes out with the troupe to sing in plays, (which was looked down upon then) Wilfy confidently told her I will marry her and they need not search any match for Meena.
She says that she shared a good musical understanding with Wilfy. She proudly recalls, “Whenever Wilfy used to compose a song, he used to show it to me first, before anyone else could hear it. I used to give my comments on the song and he always took my comments and arranged the song accordingly. I was not a great musician or singer, but still he took my advice and trusted me, this really makes me feel proud.”
In the absence of the physical presence of Wilfy it is her children who give her the strength and zest to carry on with life. Her children Veena, Vishwas , son-in-law Arthur, daughter-in-law Charleen and grand children Arvin, Anna, Roger Gerald and her United Youngsters troupe who is a part of her family gives her the required strength to continue the work from where Wilfy has left.
'Wilfy Nite' … Legacy Continues…
Though Meena welcomes constructive criticism she is pained and hurt by some silly remarks of a few individuals questioning their right to stage “Wilfy Nites” when Wilfy is no more. Meena says “Wilfy’s has bequeathed a rich legacy which has to continue though he is no more. It is like any other venture or organization which is not discarded even when children take over after the death of their parents. Wilfy is our legacy and my children and I want to continue the work of Wilfy. I don’t know why anyone should feel bad about it”.
Just like his beloved Dad, Vishwas too blessed with amazing talents. Together with his charming wife Charlene and under the wise guidance of his dear Mom he has ventured into a new business 'Rebimbus Creations'. It's really astonishing to see the creativity and beauty of the custom made Greeting Cards and Give-away gifts with an inscription of Wilfy's lyrics available both in Konkani and English languages. Meena feels so proud of her son Vishu and daughter Veena who are ardently following their Dad Wilfy's footsteps.
Life Goes on
For Meena music is like the soul of her life. She wants to go on and on as long as she is able to sing. Wilfy’s untimely death has been like a bolt from the blue from which she has not recovered fully. Visiting him twice a day at the cemetery gives her the much required peace. All through the day her grandson Roger keeps her busy and engaged. Roger was born after 5 days of Wilfy’s death and has developed a close bonding with his grandfather, though he is no more. For him his songs are like lullabies and his cassettes and CD’s are toys. He wants to listen to Wilfy’s songs alone and he hums them in his innocent tunes much to the delight of his grandma and parents. That is the tonic of life which sustains Meena.
The father of Konkani music Amar Konkan Kogull Wilfy Rebimbus dedicated his entire life to enrich Konkani language, literature and culture through his immortal songs. Now it’s the turn of the entire Konkani community to pay back his debt by encouraging his beloved wife Meena and their children by supporting their ventures in whatever way we can.