By Steve Antao
World Goa Day will be celebrated all across the world on 20th August 2022. The official theme song for this year’s World Goa Day celebrations, ‘Goa Mhojem, Bhangaranchem’, has been sung by the evergreen living legend Usha Uthup. This has been made possible through the efforts of Goa’s King Of Jazz, Colin D’Cruz, and his team at Jazz Goa, who have worked with Usha on the song through online exchanges.
The song marks Usha’s return to singing in Konkani after more than 50 years. It is the title track of a 12-song Konkani Jazz album featuring Usha. All the twelve songs will be released as singles and the complete album will be released at a grand event later this year in Goa, where Usha will be performing the songs live.
The song has been arranged and composed by Colin D’Cruz. Gerard Machado, a jazz guitar virtuoso based in Bangalore contributed to the song with a world-class guitar solo. Goa’s young jazz genius Jason Quadros played the piano, Angelo Colaco played the drums, and Colin played the bass guitar. The lyrics of the song have been penned by well-known Goan lyricist Bond Braganza. The idea regarding the lyrics of the song, however, came from the mother of Canada-based Goan musician Evelyno Braganza. Evelyno’s mother (who is 96 years old and hails from Mapusa) suggested to him the idea that the lyrics of the song must begin with the words ‘Goa Mhojem, Bhangaranchem’. Evelyno shared the idea with Bond Braganza, who then worked on the idea and composed the lyrics of the song.
Usha and her love for Goa
Speaking to ItsGoa from Kolkata, Mrs. Usha said that her experience working with Colin on this song has been marvellous. “Colin is an amazing musician and more importantly, an amazing person”, she says. “He is always working to project other upcoming artistes and musicians and helps them out in making their mark in the field of music. Jazz Goa is an amazing platform for artistes of all ages, and they do amazing work to promote artistes, music, and most importantly, Goa!”, she adds.
Usha revealed that the first time she visited Goa was nearly 52 years back. She last visited Goa 2 years ago before the pandemic began, and wishes to visit Goa again very soon. “I have always had a fantastic experience during all my visits to this wonderful paradise”, she says. Usha’s connection with Goa goes all the way back to the time when she was schooling. She was born and brought up in Bombay and most of her teachers at the convent school where she studied were from Goa. Usha says that the language Konkani is so beautiful, and that she loves singing in Konkani.
Speaking of her love for this beautiful sunshine state, Usha says that Goa is a place which is so laid back, so beautiful, and so full of nature, sun, sand and sea. “The people of Goa are so warm and kind, and always have their arms open wide to welcome you. I have always experienced the finest of hospitality from all Goans whenever I have visited Goa”, she says. “When you set foot in Goa and drive to wherever you want to go, it gets so picturesque, so magical, and there is no room for tiredness. You get filled with energy and liveliness by looking at the greenery and the peaceful atmosphere”, she adds.
Her Experience Working With Goan Musicians
Usha says that most of the musicians who played for her were from Goa. This includes musical stalwarts like Sardino, the legendary Ronnie Menezes and his troupe, Tony Menezes, and Anto Menezes. “I met Tony Menezes and Anto Menezes in Calcutta”, she says. She also mentions the legendary piano player Xavier Fernandes. “He was a fantastic piano player. At the moment, he is in Australia, but he was the first musician who worked with me on my English songs ‘Jambalaya’ and ‘Green Back Dollar’. He used to create magic with his fingers while playing the piano”, she says.
Usha’s connection with Goa has been so deep for years, and it suddenly sparked off again when Colin got in touch with her to sing this song in Konkani. “Colin and his lovely wife Diana are such warm and welcoming people; I feel as though I have known Colin all my life. And the work that he does would make anyone so proud to be a part of Goa”, she says.
Usha also reminisces about the songs she has sung with the Konkani music legend Chris Perry, including songs like ‘Meu Amor’, ‘Paka-Paka’, ‘Kantaram Kortam’, and ‘Ambeachem Zhadd’. She also mentions that recently, she had the privilege of working with Seby Fernandes (who is well known for his song ‘Mira Mira’) on a song called ‘Eki Ratcho Mog’.
“My experience with everyone whom I have worked with, including Colin, has been marvellous. The only downside to this WhatsApp group through which I communicate with Colin and the other musicians working on this album of Konkani songs is that all this started during the pandemic, so I haven’t got a chance to meet them in person. But despite that, I feel like I have known them forever!”, she says.
Her Message To All Goans On World Goa Day
Usha says that while the people of Goa are Goans by birth, she is a Goan by choice. She urges all Goans, all over the world, to work for the development and welfare of their home state. She also urges them to spread the message of love and peace through music. She adds that even though Goa is such a small part of India, it is a very integral part of India – “The language, the food, the scenery, the music, the people; everything beckons you back”, she says.
Usha Uthup will be performing on various Konkani songs on the 20th of August at 8 pm (IST). The performance will be broadcasted on the Jazz Goa YouTube channel.