From the editor’s desk :-
Dear Do..Re..Me..Fa.. browsers,
Once again a hearty welcome to your most favorite Music column and “A Blessed Easter” to you all! It gives me immense pleasure to wish you and your families a very happy and spirit-filled Easter! On this joyous occasion of the greatest feast of “Easter” I pray in a very special way that the peace and joy of Risen Christ reign in your minds and hearts and may you experience the power of the Risen Lord throughout your life.
Last month we were highly privileged to honour yesteryears Super Star ‘Helen D’Cruz’ on Do..Re..Me..Fa dais. I was so touched to receive a thank you note from Helen and in her email she says….
A million thanks for your magnanimity in considering my profile for this month's Yesteryears Music Superstar on your prestigious website Daijiworld.com. I was truly honoured by your generous compliments in your introductory note. They are so much more than I ever expected and have brought me great joy indeed. Thank you and your editorial team for all your efforts in putting this column together. Wish you great success in your future endeavours to feature deserving artists, social workers, philanthropists and achievers.
May God bless you, your family and your team.
WOW!!! What simplicity from a great artiste like Madam Helen. I am so happy that the mission Do..Re..Me..Fa.. has become successful in giving the artistes great joy and happiness they deserve for their immense contribution to Konkani Music.
Now let me get back to my business. In my great determination of presenting you a melodious musical chord this month as an ‘Easter Egg’ I was glancing the skies studded with shining music stars, instantly I found yet another ‘Super Star’! By profession she is a Doctor of Medicine and of Marathi origin. But her love and contribution for Konkani music is really praiseworthy! When you listen to her sweet voice I am sure you will have a feeling of listening to India’s one and only Music legend Lata Mangeshkar! The amazing singing star whom I am presenting on Do..Re..Me..Fa.. stage is none other than a Bollywood Singing Star who brought newness to Konkani Music Dr.Aparna Mayekar! I am sure you will enjoy listening to this, yet music Super Star of our times.
I am highly indebted to my buddy Florine Roche for meeting up with Dr.Aparna for an exclusive interview during her recent visit to Mumbai. Also special thanks to my beloved Sangeet Samraat Henry D’Souza for making this interview possible.
Finally, I wish to thank every one of you for taking your time in browsing this music column. See you then, next month at this same portal and same column. Until then, bye!
Yours in Do..Re..Me..Fa..,
Gerry D’Mello, Bendur.
A Bollywood singer who brought newness to Konkani music
Dr Aparna Mayekar
A versatile singer that she is, Aparna Mayekar who has sung more than 5000 songs in 14 Indian languages, considers Konkani singer, lyricist and composer Sangeet Samrat Henry D Souza as her godfather as far as Konkani music is concerned. It has been nearly three decades since Aparna first started singing Konkani songs and she has a word of appreciation for Konkani singers when she says ‘there is no leg pulling arising out of jealousy among Konkani singers unlike in other languages’.
Aparna who is based in Mumbai began her association with Konkani music when she first sang for Henry’s cassette as a last minute substitute to singer Anuradha Paudwal who could not make it at the last minute. Though, Aparna was a household name by then, having made her presence felt in Marathi and Hindi films, she grabbed the opportunity that came her way to sing Konkani songs with Henry which launched her to Konkani music lovers. The connoisseurs of Konkani music accepted her wholeheartedly as Aparna remained steadfast in her commitment to Konkani music, even under trying circumstances. Since then her tryst with Konkani music continues unhindered, notwithstanding a busy career as a doctor and a multi-lingual singer with more lucrative offers.
Both Aparna and Henry with whom she sang maximum Konkani songs were performing singers and they were able to set the stage on fire with their electric performances to match with their singing. Apart from Henry, Aparna has lent her voice for CD’s with some of the well known Konkani singing stars like Mike Simon, Melwyn Peris, Allen Fernandes, Patrao Brothers, Vincent, Philip & Gerry, Antoinette, Ronnie D’Cunha and a many more.
Over the years Aparna has developed a predilection for Konkani music, much to her own surprise. Learning the diction was not an awesome task considering that she is Maharashtrian with Marathi as her mother tongue. Still she put in concerted efforts to learn proper Konkani diction so that she could sing flawlessly. She has even sung a Tulu song “Beedi Kattuna Leela” for Melwyn Peris’s Tulu hit songs, which goes to prove that she is a versatile artiste, eager to learn and equally professional who makes the best use of the opportunity coming her way.
Those days she was the only Marathi singer singing Konkani but she never exploited that to her advantage. “Konkani music has its own beauty and lure and I can never say no to singing Konkani songs”, says Aparna when asked why she is unswerving in her commitment to sing Konkani songs. Aparna has immortalized some Konkani songs like ‘Lilly’, ‘Abdulla’, ‘Shirley’, ‘Ankwar avoi’ ‘Thornady Chali’, ‘Guloba’, ‘Hamv Chedu Bombaiche’, and the list goes on.
Aparna was one of the four children born to late Datta Davjekar and Indumati Davjekar. Music is something that runs in her blood as her father Dattatreya Shankar Davjekar, known to all sundry as Datta Davjekar, was a music composer of repute associated with Marathi and Hindi films. He was also the Sitarist for music directors like S D Burman, R D Burman, Kalyanji Anandji and Anu Malik. He is credited for giving a break to some of the well known names in playback singing like Mangeshkar sisters and Anuradha Paudwal.
Born in 1948, music was Aparna’s constant companion in her childhood mainly because singers and artistes were regular visitors to their home. In such a conducive atmosphere it was from her father that Aparna learnt the nuances of classical music to begin with. Her mother Indumathi also encouraged her by giving necessary moral support. Aparna fine-tuned her music skills under the guidance of Vasantrao Kulkarni, Jitendra Abhisheki and Shobha Gurte. It was gazal maestro Govind Prasad Jaipuriwale who trained her in ghazal singing.
As for education, Aparna did her high school from Chikitsak High School in Mumbai. Her music education continued side by side with her academics and somehow she was able to balance both with aplomb. Aparna completed her MBBS from G S Medical College, Mumbai.
Entry into Music
Aparna began to sing at the age of seven and is rich with a veritable experience of nearly six decades in the music field. But she says “the learning process never stops for a singer whatever might be the experience or expertise he or she has in the field. It is a continuous process for a singer and the moment the singer thinks he or she is perfect, that is the beginning of the end”.
For Aparna music was the daily dose of nutrition on which she grew up with even before she started to mumble her baby words. Naturally, she was more inclined towards music as she grew up showing keen interest in taking it as a career. But her parents insisted that she pay equal attention to her academics and opt for an alternative profession rather than take music for a career.
Aparna wanted to be a full time singer but says “my father could not make a decent career out of music and perhaps he did not want his children to go through what he has gone through. That is why he insisted that we children study and have a decent career and pursue music as a hobby. My both brothers are engineers and I am a practicing medical practitioner”.
In the same breath she adds that she never wanted to be a doctor because she could have devoted more time to pursue music. This is also her biggest regret in life though she feels that she has been able to delicately balance both her career and her music interest. This is apparent from the fact that she has given more than 2000 stage shows with legendary musicians like Bappi Lahiri, Kalyanji, Manna Dey, and Nitin Mukesh and of course with Sangeet Samrat Henry D Souza and many other Konkani singers.
Aparna who is married to sitar maestro Aravind Mayekar gives full credit to her husband for her decision to sing in Konkani. “When Henry first came with the offer, my younger daughter was just 10 years old and my husband often used to go abroad for concerts. On such occasions I had to be both father and mother to my kids and I had refused many real good offers. When Henry offered me this opportunity it was my husband who goaded me or rather pushed me into accepting the offer and I am really indebted to him for the support and encouragement he has given all through”, recalls Aparna.
As a multi-tasking super woman Aparna has realized most of her dreams first as a singer and medical practitioner and - as an obedient daughter, respectful wife, a caring mother to her two daughters and now a loving and adoring grandmother to her only granddaughter. .
Apart from singing, Aparna has also composed music for a couple of Marathi films. She has given her euphonious voice to more than 1000 cassettes and CDs, enlivened musical stage shows in India and abroad with her energetic and charming stage presence. She particularly recalls a stage show in Bangalore where she sang the sentimental song “mai” and the fact that she had lost her mother a few weeks before, made her literally cry on stage while singing. The audience too, she says, was moved by the changed mood and many of them were in tears.
Aparna has sung for yesteryears Hindi heroines like Sridevi, Rekha and Dimple Kapadia. Now that she has enough time she is trying her hand in giving voiceover to films and documentaries.
Aparna is a strict disciplinarian and even at 65, she has been able to maintain the quality of her voice with regular riyaaz. In the last few months she has reduced her visits to her clinic due to the ill health of her husband. Though medical profession was not what she wanted she has got her fulfillment from it in her own way by treating infertility. Though not a gynaec many female patients come to her with belief that if she treats them they will be able to conceive and true to their belief Aparna has been able to give a new lease of life to many shattered women and bring them joy. “I think it is the greatest gift I could give to women who come to me with lot of trust and with loads of expectations”, she explains. She is an ardent devotee of Mata Amritananda and attributes her achievements to the grace of God.
Aparna’s only ambition if it can be called is to sing in a foreign language and also to dedicate more time for composing songs. She admires Konkani music lovers, who she says, ‘always treat the artiste with respect and hold them in high regard’. As a parting shot she says ‘every singer should have a godfather like Henry’, which amply demonstrates the high regard she has for Sangeet Samrat Henry D’Souza and her humility despite being a top notch singer.
Konkani Diaspora salutes Aparna for her love for Konkani Songs and her dedication in bringing newness for Konkani Music. Long live Dr.Aparna Mayekar and her inimitable singing!