'GULAB' Singing Competition


By Gasper Crasto, Kuwait
Photos by: Johnny Pereira

Kuwait: The tradition of Christmas carols hails back as far as the thirteenth century, although carols were originally folk songs sung during celebrations like harvest, tide or Christmas. It was only later that carols begun to be sung in church, and to be specifically associated with Christmas. It is for the very first time in Kuwait that a Goan organization took up the challenge to present 'Carol singing competition' as part of the third and final event of the GULAB Konkani magazine's Silver Jubilee celebrations that commenced in June 2008.

A number of Groups presented their best performances. The event organized by the Kala Mogui Kuwait (KMK) and Gulab Working Committee was held at the Carmel School Auditorium, Kheitan, Kuwait on Friday evening, 26th December 2008 - the Boxing Day. The groups that presented their carols which were mostly in Konkani, as well as in English were: 'Life Group, Kheitan', 'Twinkling Stars', 'Mankam Motiam', 'Zokzokit Taram (Senior)', 'Zokzokit Taram (Junior)' and guest singers 'City Carolers'.

The highlight of the day was a live presentation of the Infant's birth by 'Life Group, Kheitan' with the participation of 25 tiny tots and co-ordinated by a dozen of seniors. Another feature of the evening was a skit "Natalanchi Bhett" written by Lino Dourado and directed by Sushil Amonkar, and a solo song 'Love in Winter Wonderland' sung by Micky Fernandes. The judges for the Carol Singing Competition were Miss Effie De Melo, Faustino Menezes and Anthony Gonsalves.

It was an unanimous decision of the judges to declare the Twinkling Stars as winners of the first ever Gulab Carol Singing Competition with a total of 114 points closely followed by "Mankam Motiam" as 1st Runners-up with 108 points, and "Zokzokit Taram" as 2nd Runners-up with 102 points. The auditor/modulator for the judges was Manuel F.X. Fernandes, senior Konkani stage artiste, and Ms. Anjali Amonkar, yet another latest stage sensation in Kuwait. Earlier the judges were introduced to the audience by KMK President/compere Dominic Araujo. Another star Konkani stage artiste Querobina Carvlaho handed the competition folders and guidelines to the jury.

The main focus of the Silver Jubilee celebrations was to create additional awareness of GULAB - the first Konkani magazine to be published in Roman Konkani which was a dream concept of late Fr. Freddy J. Da Costa, its former editor and publisher. For details on how to subscribe, advertise or present writings in Konkani for inclusion in the forthcoming issues of GULAB, readers in Kuwait may contact Tel: +965 99391452 / +965 24726524 or email gulabq8@.... For all other queries, Fausto V. Da Costa, the editor of GULAB in Goa can be reached by email at fausto@....

The past two events were organized on a much grander scale and had a large audience for the professional tiatr troupe that was flown in from Goa for the 15 August 2008 (Independence Day) show. The second event was 'Konkani Variety Show" on 9 October 2008 which had a participation of over 100 singers/choreographers/Konkani stage artistes, was attended by Gulab's editor Fausto V. Da Costa, specially flown to grace the occasion together with a well-known Konkani writer Pio Esteves. The organizers thanked the Konkani lovers, the Goan and Mangalorean community in Kuwait, well-wishers, raffle players, the new Gulab subscribers, the tiatrists, tiatr lovers and leaders, coordinators and participants of all the three events. It should be noted that, never ever in the history of Konkani such events were held in one calendar year by a single entity. Events were entrance-free except for the first "tiatr" presentation.

Dominic Araujo compered the event which also included a brief GWS Educational Award ceremony. Sister Maria Lytta, Principal of Carmel School, gave away the awards. The event could have been better organized by Goan Welfare Society, as the ceremony was a low key and lackluster one and except for one awardee's parent, the other three awards were collected by GWS committee members themselves. The awards are donated by Mr. & Mrs. Sam Alphonso.

Konkani poet and writer Lino B. Dourado was at his best, conducting the Konkani 'Christmas' quiz and jokes to the amusement of all. Dourado's superbly written Konkani play "Natalanchi Bhett" was both entertaining and thought-provoking which had the participation of popular Konkani stage artistes Querobina Carvalho, Braz de Parra, Lawrie Miranda, Micky Fernandes, the much appreciated Anjali Amonkar with guest appearance by teenagers Graham Rodrigues and Abigail Pereira. The play was directed by Sushil Amonkar. The message conveyed in the play was indeed a 'gift' for 'Christmas' as the titled signified.

A special thanksgiving presentation of mementos were given to Cruz and Elva Rodrigues of Life Group Kheitan, Aurora Fernandes of Twinkling Stars, Agnela Fernandes of Zokzokit Taram, Antonette Sequeira of Mankam Motian and Simon Dias of City Carolers. The judges Effie De Melo, Faustinho Menezes and Anthony Gonsalves also received mementos apart from the guest artistes Graham Rodrigues and Abigail Pereira. Gulab Working Committee's dedicated members who were presented mementos were Sushil Amonkar, Anjali Amonkar, Manuel F.X. Fernandes, Gaspar Almeida, Micky Fernandes, Lino B. Dourado, Laurence Miranda, Querobina Carvalho, Braz Rodrigues (de Parra), Gracy Morais, Felix Fernandes (de Merces). A very special memento was presented to the family of Domingos Araujo.

The Gulab Carol Singing Competition was supported by Agnelo Baracho, Wilson Coelho and Luis B. Cardozo & fly. Music Maestro Socorro De Melo supported Mankam Motiam and Zokzokit Taram - the two groups that were co-ordinated by the KMK President. As an encouraging gesture, a special memento was presented by Kala Mogui Kuwait to Agnela Fernandes for her tireless efforts, costume design and support towards the competition.

Luis B. Cardozo's contribution and support was duly acknowledged with a presentation of a special memento. In his short speech, Mr. Cardozo applauded the event organizers for not only bringing together nearly 150 participants on stage for the GULAB Carol Singing Competition for the very first time, but for all the efforts towards the promotion of Konkani and especially to the GULAB magazine through the past two (2) events held during the year.

The show was attended by an enthusiastic festive audience. Towards the end, the arrival of Santa with a heavy loaded bag of gifts, sweets and candies took the children to cheerful heights and with the Christmas music aloud, it was a parting time with the exchange of 'Seasons' Greetings'.Special thanks were conveyed by the organizers to the Carmel School Authorities, the Kuwaiti press and media, the Arab Times, Kuwait Times, The Times, www.goa-world.com website, www.indiansinkuwait.com and www.kuwaitsamachar.com web portals and the Gulf-Goans e-Newsletter and other internet forums. The organizers saluted all those who worked behind the scenes tirelessly for the love of Konkani.

Once again kudos to Domnic Araujo who excelled as a leader, organizer and compere. The brain behind the Gulab Silver Jubilee Celebrations, through the Kala Mogui Kuwait was well supported by the Gulab Working Committee. Summing it all in his words, "Wherever there is Konkani I am there." He further added "I'll be ready to organize any further events of such magnitude and nature. I only seek your cooperation", and the audience applauded affirming their support to their mother tongue and Goa's state language.

As published in Arab Times/December 31, 2008 (Page 27).

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