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Reviving Konkani songs for the future generation

The Dekhni ‘Hanv Saiba Poltodi Vetam’ is a song that Goans are usually introduced to in their childhood. During cultural programs in school, many are taught to sing and often dance to the beats of the songs on stage for various programs. As such,it brings back childhood memories and one can immediately start singing the lines of the Dekhni with zest.

‘I Vetam’ by Carlos Eugenio Ferreira was first published in Paris in 1895 and then in Goa in 1926. The song was adapted by Raj Kapoor as ‘Na mangun sona chandi’ in his Hindi movie ‘Bobby’. The lyrics of the song are about two temple dancers who want to go for Damu’s wedding and they approach the boatman to ferry them across the river. When he declines because the river is rough, he is offered gold jewellery in barter, but he still refuses.

Explaining why Mukesh was inspired to rework the Goan song, he says, “The music for the song is rearranged in such a way that one feels relaxed and will definitely refresh their hometown memories. This is a popular Goan song done differently; you feel the pleasing, dreamy sequence music that will surely bring tears to the eyes of those abroad and missing home. I do a lot of original music compositions but I was inspired to do this song when one day, during a birthday party, as we friends were singing this song, an elderly gentleman was literally in tears while listening to it. The same evening, when I was creating music, my disturbed mind could not create anything and I just sat down and started playing this song. I started singing and the flow was such that I just recorded my music and the song was created with love and emotions.”

He adds, “After a few months, as I was listening to my songs, Sainath Parab heard the song in my home studio. That’s when I told him that I wanted to do a video for this song. He immediately stepped in to do the camera work. He is the cinematographer for the music video. The concept designing was done by my wife, Celesta Ghatwal. I did the vocals, music rearrangements, mixing and mastering and edited of the video.”

The song was shot at the green and picturesque village of St Estevam and different elements for the video were added on the spot. “The cast in the song were selected on the spot, without any planning. The boys cast for the video, Vijay Menezes, Roland Afonso, Francis Gomes, Sheldon Alphonso and Molivoi Silveira, are actually my friends from my village. Smita Naik, Pradnya Naik, and Pooja Naik were asked if they could join us for the video on the shoot day itself; thankfully, they said yes. Another interesting part of the video is that there are no trained or glamorous artistes; everything is very natural, which makes the overall product more appealing. My village friends are always very supportive and enthusiastic. I am always proud of St Estevam as the villagers are amazing,” says Mukesh.

A Yuva Srujan Puraskar awardee, Mukesh recently released a devotional song during the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi, titled ‘Mangal Murti Morya’, with John Aguiar. Speaking about why he came back to this old Konkani song when he is known for creating original music for several films as well as jingles, he says, “There is a saying that old is gold and yes it is pure gold but today’s youth is brought up listening to new age music. Some of the youth like different styles of music and the best way to present these songs to our youth is by adding modern flavour but keeping the charm of our culture and heritage.”[H]

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