November 26, 2012
From the editor’s desk :
Dear Do..Re..Me..Fa.. browzers,
Once again, a hearty and warm welcome to one and all to this unique music column Do..Re..Me.. Fa.. It’s really wonderful to see this popular music column on this web-portal picking up really well as more and more readers are coming out with their comments and wishes. It’s truly inspiring not only for the artistes but for Team Do Re Me Fa as well.
In order to fulfill my promise of playing sweet chords of female music stars this year, I must say I was blankly gazing at the vast music sky for a female star. Suddenly I caught sight of a star that was trying to hide quietly. Dear music lovers… today it’s my great privilege to present to you yet another sweet and melodious star Lizzy Concessao D’Souza – The Quiet Performer!
As you continue listening to this sweet chord of music, I express my deep gratitude to Florine Roche for going an extra-mile in getting the profile and having a personal interview with Lizzy. Through this profile when we listen to her melodious music journey, we also get an insight of the upheavals she had to face in her personal life.
Thank you, dear all dear readers for browsing through this unique music column and trying to get to know the shining stars of Konkani music. See you again next month at the same site, with another sweet chord of music and that will a Christmas Special… obviously a most sensational one! Keep waiting.. until then, bye!
Gerry D’Mello, Bendur.
Lizzy D’Souza nee Concessao – the Quiet Performer
Konkani singer Lizzy D Souza (formerly Concessao) has always chosen to keep a low profile. That does not mean her contribution as a Konkani
singer is insignificant or is not recognized by connoisseurs of Konkani music. Unlike her contemporaries Lizzy has deliberately chosen to remain out of the arc lights even when she was at the peak. Those who have heard and seen her singing in her brother ‘Sangeet Ratna’ Victor Concessao Nites or have listened to her innumerable Konkani devotional songs cannot but vouch for her mellifluent voice etched in their memory. With no formal training in music this soft-spoken singer had achieved a coup of sorts when she passed the audition test at All India Radio Mumbai, said to be one of the toughest tests for a singer. This was an amazing achievement for young Lizzy who was barely 20 years then.
Lizzy was the 10th among the 11 children born to late Lazares Concesso and late Alice Menezes of Derebail parish. Late C U Pinto of Bejai (Sippa Maesthry - father of late Prof.Benet Pinto) has recognized the singing talent in her when she was a school girl. It was her older brother Rudolph Concesso then working in Jeppu Work Shop, who gave her the necessary encouragement and initial push that catapulted this promising singer into limelight at a very young age. .
She had joined the Bejai choir which gave her an opportunity to hone her music talents. The turning point came in 1962 making her a celebrated singer when she participated in the inter-parish singing competition conducted by Konkani Natak Sabha. For three successive years she bagged the 1st place in solo singing and the singer in her had arrived with a bag. Her younger brother Victor Concessao who is also a renowned Konkani singer played a pivotal role in recognizing the potential in Lizzy and bringing it to the fore.
Journey in Music life
After completing SSLC and getting proficiency in shorthand and typing Lizzy had left for Mumbai in search of a job as her older brother was settled in Mumbai. In Mumbai Lizzy had joined the church choir at Kurla church where she had a chance meeting with singer Helen D’Cruz of Henry’s “Ye Ye Katrina” song fame. It was Helen’s brother who took her to All India Radio for audition test which she passed with flying colours in her very first attempt.
When Lizzy came back to Mangalore in 1974 on a holiday, a program was arranged in Don Bosco Hall to honour her for her achievement for passing the audition test at All India Radio. The event proved to be double whammy for Lizzy as it was during this function she met Cyril D Souza (popularly known as RILS), also a musician, who became her life partner. He came to that event, saw her and conquered by proposing to her and they were married the same year.
As her husband Cyril D Souza was also a musician Lizzy got all support and encouragement t from her musically inclined husband. Cyril had a music band of his own called “rils” and Lizzy got ample scope to exhibit her singing talent in the music band and establish herself as a singer. It was Lizzy who first sang the immortal Konkani song “Juliana” written by (late) Henry T D Souza on radio in Mumbai. “Henry had sent me the lyrics of a few songs including that of Juliana and it was I who first sang that song on radio”, she recalls.
Though there were offers aplenty Lizzy sang only in the musical nites of her brother Victor Concessao. Lizzy’s voice has that smooth, soothing and pious quality which makes it ideal for Konkani devotional songs. Naturally she was the first choice of many for singing Konkani devotional songs. It is to the credit of Lizzy that she has sung for 55 cassettes and CD’s so far and majority of them are Konkani devotional songs.
Lovers of Konkani devotional music in “Konkani Bhakti Geetham” are mesmerized by the euphonious voice of Lizzy. The last CD she had rendered her voice was the CD titled “Ghataranthli Santhin Mother Teresa”. Lizzy has sung in the CD’s of well known Konkani singers like Fr Charles Vas S.V.D., (late) Jerome D Souza, Lawrence Saldanha, Mike Simon, (late) P H Pinto, Victor Concesso and Melvyn Peres. She has sung devotional songs for Fr Walter Albuquerque and CD’s of Sandesha Communications. Her tryst with radio continued in Mangalore also as she was one of the two among 11 to pass the audition test and she has sung for many radio programs. Another highlight of her singing career is that she has sung in a group song in Hindi with Ghazal king late Talat Mahmood.
Lizzy has almost retired from singing since 2008 after she underwent an operation though she is very a part of the choir at Milagres. However, she is satisfied with whatever she has been able to achieve so far as a singer. She says “life has always been kind to me as I got many opportunities without my seeking them”. She got a chance to join the Bejai choir when the lead singer of the choir got married and that was the major break she received. Though she belongs to Derebail church she was in Bejai choir as she was studying in Bejai School. “I was in Bejai choir but when it comes to winning prizes in competitions it was for Derebail church which often made my position quite a thorny one though I must say no one raised any objections”, she points out.
She says it was her good fortune that she met her husband Cyril D Souza and that too due to providence. “Cyril had come for that function organized at Don Bosco Hall in my honour and he proposed to me subsequently. He was a musician & I did not hesitate to give my consent when he approached me with the marriage proposal. I am fortunate that I could consolidate myself as a singer only because of his unstinting support”, she reminisces while talking to Do Re Me Fa.
The couple lives alone in their house at Attavar as both their children are settled abroad. Cyril D Souza runs a provision store which is just adjacent to their home in Attavar. Daughter Carol and son Canute are singers in their own way. Son Canute has been a part of the rock band “Rock Show”, till a few years ago before he went to Muscat for job.
While life has been quite benign to her, Lizzy has not been able to reconcile to the tragedy of the death of their eldest daughter Lovina at the age of 13. Lovina had died following a brief illness though the exact cause of her death is not known to Lizzy even now. She says her heart writhed with pain when Lovina was telling her she was not feeling well, she recollects. The desperate couple took their ailing daughter to Mumbai, Vellore and many other places, without any positive results. This was a big blow to Lizzy as she has not been able to fully come out of the tragedy even to this day. The garlanded photo of Lovina adorns the on the walls of her house as one enters the home, a poignant reminder of what Lizzy and her family has gone through following Lovina’s untimely death.
Lizzy gratefully recalls the support and encouragement she received in her music career from her younger brother singer Victor Concessao, who, she says “has given me every possible support and encouragement all these years. I am grateful to him and my husband as they were like solid pillars of strength in my music career. Without their guidance and support I would not have been able to achieve anything”. Victor who is settled in Mumbai has been her constant guide, supporter and well wisher and gave her an opportunity to be a part of his music nites.
Undoubtedly Lizzy is a precious gift from God for the Konkani Music world. Music lovers are anxiously waiting to listen to her melodious voice again and we are sure that will be a reality in the very near future!