A book on lesser-known tales from Goa’s musical past

‘Symphony of Passion’, written by Melvyn Misquita, throws light on musicians of yesteryear, and will be released on June 1, 2022 at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao
A book on lesser-known tales from Goa’s musical past
The cover of the book 'Symphony of Passion' by Melvyn MisquitaGomantak Times

Symphony of Passion, authored by Melvyn Savio Misquita, narrates a tale of a Goan band that includes some famous musicians from the state. The book will be released on June 1, 2022 at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao.

Music has been a driving force for the people of Goa for a very long time. The stage has given birth to several prominent singers and musicians like Lorna, Remo, Chris Perry, etc who’ve been acclaimed internationally. But, besides these, there are many who have gone unnoticed or forgotten with time.

Author of Symphony of Passion, Misquita brings out a similar story of a popular band and musicians from Goa, who made a mark for themselves in the field of music and enthralled audiences with their tunes and beats.

The book traces the journey of a Goan band, set up in the 1950s. It gives insights into some prominent musicians from Goa and throws light on the music history of Goa.

In the book

Symphony of Passion opens with a musician in Assolna, named Pedro Santana Fernandes, who received a mail from a Margao-based band leader, Alvito da Costa, writing about an upcoming show in Majorda on May 14, 1955. This seemed like an opportunity, as shows back in those days were less frequent, but were an important source of earning some money.

Gradually, the book takes you around the story of the four founders of the Margão Quartet, who the book is about. The four founders of the Margão Quartet, were from the same neighbourhood: Alvito da Costa, Ronaldo Coutinho, José Gracias (all from Borda) and Anacleto de Figueiredo -- scion of the great maestro Antonio Fortunato de Figueiredo of Loutulim -- who resided near the Old Market.

They were then joined by the brother of the famous musician Chris Perry, Joe Perry. Interestingly, Joe too had great potential and music abilities but due to poor health, he died at the very young age of 28. While, his brother Chris Perry, over the years, gained popularity and fame.

A great find!

In the book, you can also find out how another band ‘Joe Blues’ was formed by others as a tribute to their mentor and friend, Joe Perry.

Various details about this is written down in a diary. The author happens to be the son-in-law of one of the founders and writes this book based on the findings.

For Misquita, working on the book was like a revelation of several interesting facts and stories of Goa’s history and music. He says, “What started with a brief message on a WhatsApp group turned into a mission over the past two years. Efforts were made to identify a group of musicians from rare photos, preserved in an old diary and to locate their relatives. Unexpected stories began to emerge from friends and relatives of these musicians.”

The author collected various important pieces like obituary cards, record covers, inlay notes, personal memories and old photographs along with the seventy-year-old diary, on which the book is based.

One can go back seven decades and find stories about tragedy, deaths, triumphs, telling photos from yesteryears, lists of the many musicians who were part of the band.

Interestingly, the book brings in various surprising elements which connect the book on music to sports, jazz through the Voice of America radio station!

All of this is in a fifty page book that includes photos, news-cuttings, music sheets and other memorabilia.

About the author

Misquita has also written a monograph on a British ship (Brittania) sunk during World War II with many Goan seamen on board, including his relative. A detailed work on the Gaianacho Jhelo (The Garland of Hymns), a book of religious music in Konkani with many interesting aspects of how it came about is credited to the author.

He has also created a directory of Goan musicians.

At the book release..

Symphony of Passion will be released at Black Box, in Ravindra Bhavan, Margao, on June 1, 2022 at 4.30 pm.

The book release will also feature songs played by the band decades ago. It will have performances by Ravi Coutinho, Mercy Fernandes, fadista Nadia Rebelo and young Aanora Gracias, all relatives of the bandmates, with music by Kevin Mendes.

Details:

WHERE: Black Box, Ravindra Bhavan, Margao

WHEN: June 1, 2022

TIMINGS: 4.30 pm

The cover of the book 'Symphony of Passion' by Melvyn Misquita
Could this be the next big thing in music from Goa?

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