This website is about the GOAN Christian Community of Pakistan. Every Goan has ancestral roots in Goa, India, formerly a Portuguese colony. All Goans of Pakistan are predominantly Catholic. Although the 'Christian Community of Pakistan' has contributed immensely to nation-building; this endeavor is solely dedicated to researching, highlighting and archiving the GOAN community's historical background, cultural heritage, significant achievements and contribution to Pakistan, before and after independence.

 
Music & Band


Goans and music go hand-in-hand, it comes naturally to them. In the early years, having a Piano in the house, bought from Pakistan's prominent piano store, Haydn's on Elphi, owned by a Goan, playing in the legendary brass band of St. Patrick's School where reading music was essential to playing an instrument; and being part of bands that thrived in numerous night-clubs and discotheques, made Goans the most-wanted musicians in those days. Solitary piano & music stores owned by Goans were also known to be in the cities of Quetta and Peshawar.

Among the most outstanding music teachers in 1950s and 1960s were Prof. F.X. Fernandes * (it is believed that Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan sent his sons for music lessons here), Max Sequeira, Rozario Fernandes, Patricia Duarte (her family built the majestic Duarte Mansion in Saddar) and Prof. Terrance De Souza (who's father Prof Leo De Souza was the principal of D.J. Science College). These maestros taught music, both in theory and practice, and were renowned for their mastery and talent.

( * ) "One of the notable pianists, who was too implacably talented to just fade away, was F.X. Fernandes, a piano teacher by day and leader of a combo by night. One of the great catalysts of popular interest in strict tempo dance music, he was at his best when ploughing through a rumba. His piano was always full of storming base lines, explosive chords and slashing runs." (A Fiesta of Entertainment - Karachi Megacity of our Times by Hamida Khuhro and Anwer Mooraj)

Among the trained voices of that era were Lionel Pinto, Joe 'Bill' Soares, Ivo D'Souza and Willie Lewis (who took the leads in the operettas); sopranos Carol & Winnie Lobo (Winnie referred as the nightingale of Karachi); the indomitable Phyllis Rodrigues; altos Madge Sequeira, Eugene D'Souza, Theresa Raymond, Hilda Freitas, Esther Menezes and also Ettie Gonsalves-nee-D'Souza; and the basses Vincent Lobo, John Sequeira and the rich baritone of Peter Sequeira. Neville D'Sa, though younger was quite adept at music, he played the tuba in St. Pat's band and sang bass. Today, Austin Freitas, the baritone par excellence, is an accomplished vocalist. The Goan Choral Society in the 1930s was also an active music group.

"The best dance band in Karachi in 1930s was the Goan group run by Mickey (saxophone) and Alec (drums) Correa. "I would endeavour to attend every monthly dance organized at the KGA in order to hear the Correa brothers play my favorites: 'Tiger Rag', 'In the Mood', 'Tea for Two', 'Lady be Good' and so many others," recalls Lt. Gen E.A. Vas in his article 'Life, as it was then...in Karachi'

The best jazz and blues band of the late 1940s and 1950s, however, was the 'Janu Vaz Band' with a full range of saxophone, trombone, trumpet, clarinet, double-bass and the percussions. The crave for club bands started early in the 1950s with the virtuosity of master-musicians such as saxophonists Alex Rodrigues and Don Gonsalves; several trumpeters, double-bassist David William and drummers Basil and Rudy D'Souza. The Felix Carvalho Trio (father & sons Chris and Tony) were musicians of exceptional talent, all readers and players of classical and jazz pieces.

The trend encouraged the formation of the 'Rockets' in the late 1950s with Mark Fernandes, trumpet; Rudy Wilson, guitar; Sabby Vaz, accordion and Malcolm D'Souza, drums; and in early 1960s by the 'Drifters' with Peter Paul Fernandes, Manuel Fernandes, Ronnie Rangel (Popat Lal) and Edward Mendes playing at the Taj Hotel Cabaret. Brothers Joe D'Cruz and Pat D'Cruz had a band called Rhythm Swingtette.

One of the first Pakistani popular musicians to have made a mark and pioneered the trend that has set in today was Norman D'Souza. His band, the 'Talismen' (comprising Norman, brothers Norbert and Hilary Furtado, Martin Fernandes, Colin D'Souza and Julius Saldanha) was the first Pakistani band to have won an international contract to play in world-class discotheques in Singapore and Malaysia in 1974, where even the world-heavyweight champion Joe Frasier once came to listen and dance to the sensational music of the Talismen. Norman was also the first Pakistani pop musician to have been interviewed 'live' on the famous Zia Mohiuddin Show on TV in the 1970s.

One of the popular 'music gurus' with a wide range of music collection and one of the first RJs (Radio Jockey) of Pakistan, along with Eddie Carappiet ("Let Habib Bank Serve You Better" - remember?), was Max Nazareth - also very popular at the Church 'Fetes'.

Goan musicians who have played a significant role in providing backup music to the resounding success of crooners Alamgir and Mohammad Ali Sheikhi have been the saxophonists Alex Rodrigues, Don Gonsalves and Hilary Furtado and of course drummer Richie D'Souza. From a historical perspective, it is important to note that Felix Carvalho played a decisive role in the success of Alamgir as a singer/musician and as his granddaughter Cheryl recalls "I remember seeing Alamgir and Sohail Rana in and out of our home..."

In latter years, the 1990s when Junoon made it big, marketing itself as a 3-piece rock band (Salman Ahmed, Ali Azmat and Brian O'Donnell) it was the back-up drumming of the nimble Malcolm Goveas which contributed to the band's huge success, locally and internationally. Another well-known Goan today is Roland de Souza, of NGO-Shehri fame, an electrical engineer who justifiably advocates the plentiful wrongs in Karachi's urban planning and other civic issues. Incidentally, Roland is a skillful pianist and guitarist of high caliber, now devoting his talent to the St. Lawrence's Church senior choir.

Goan women were not far behind in pioneering trends in music in the 60s and 70s, with the Xavier Sisters becoming the first Pakistani all-women band to perform to live audiences, including stints on Radio Pakistan. Then there were Cesca Domingo, the vocalist and the versatile Hilda Pereira, considered among the first women guitarists of the country.

Goan musicians who dominated the popular music scene from the 1950s to the 1980s/90s can be classified in four decades. In the first decade from 1950 to 1960, the prominent band groups were the Carvalho Trio, Janu Vaz Band, Soares Brothers and Rockets; in the second decade from 1960 to 1970 there were Drifters, Keynotes, Moon-Glows and In-Crowd; in the third decade from 1970 to 1980 there were Talismen, Blackjacks, Dad's Gratitude, X-periments, Communications, Underground-4, Axe-Attack and Vision and 1990 onwards, which produced individual talents such as Keith Venantius (Barbarians), Candy Pereira (Milestones), Louis (Gumby) Pinto and others. The latter (Gumby) is a celebrity drummer in Pakistan today.

Church music was at its pinnacle during the time of the indomitable Charlie Lobo who directed the majestic St. Patrick's Cathedral Choir, which included many talented singers and its versatile pianist Leo A. de Souza (also principal of the DJ Science College). From among the Clergy who devoted their time and energies to introducing, playing and maintaining beautiful church music was none other than Rev. Fr. Ronnie Colaco. In latter years, he formed his own Choral Group comprising of talented young men & women from all the parishes of the diocese.

Goans (here in Pakistan and elsewhere) continue to excel in their thirst for music and are doing great in their endeavors. Ron Pinto in Toronto got an award from Billboard for the song " Spare those lives" - did the lyrics and melody line for the song "Found your love" on a recent release of the album www.badboyzboogie.com  - co-wrote "La Fete" with Lucie Gagnon on her recent release www.luciegagnon.com  - and also wrote the music with Giovani Arteaga the song "Belle" & " Belle2" on the same album (Can you imagine a Goan doing French songs?).

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