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
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
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?).
Stage & Drama..