Music

Henry T D'Souza

From the editor’s desk :-

Dear Konkani music lovers,

Once again a hearty and a warm welcome to your most favourite music column ‘Do..Re..Me..Fa..’. I am truly indebted for your unstinted great support and encouragement that keeps us moving in our marathon walk in this vast music arena. We were really thrilled to read your overwhelmed comments on our recent musical chord on Lancy Moras!

The month of November in Catholic calendar is dedicated to pray for the departed souls. Keeping in mind this intention, Do..Re..Me..Fa.. takes the opportunity to pay homage to all the departed melodious souls who contributed immensely to enrich Konkani music during their journey on earth!

As we remember those immortal souls my heart goes out to a music legend, who in his very shortened life on earth captured every soul through his unique music talent. In this distinctive music column I was trying to present this legend for the past one decade without success! But now the opportunity has come to introduce him in Do Re Me Fa. Though I had no opportunity to meet and see his performance personally, I was truly fascinated to listen to his immortal Konkani songs that includes all time favourite...

“Kallza thaun mog tuzo hamv kortam
sodanch tuza mogak axetam
ratik moga sopnnant tuka dektam
vengun tuka uxeak kis ditam
Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina...

Tum moga henne tenne vatt chomkatana
guman korinam-i mhoji bhirmot tuka na
tuka hamv mhojench korun sangata bhomvtana
lok sogllo bott zoktolo amkam dektana
Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina...

Lhan thaun ason ami sangata
bunead ghali nhoingi amchea mogak
chonchol mogan bai tum fottvonaka
hamv kedinkch moga visorchona tuka
Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina... Rosalina...

Yes, legends after legends beautified this music column and this month too it is up with another legend. This great music personality would’ve captured the entire Konkani world if he was alive. The legend whom I’m talking about is none other than one and only fondly known as Guitar Henry “Amar.. Henry T. D’Souza!” 

I’m highly indebted to my buddy Florine Roche for all her investigative work in presenting this unique musical chord.

Thank you dear browzers for taking your time out to browze this column. We shall meet again next month, same site and same column with yet another sweet music chord. Until then, bye!

Yours in Do..Re..Me..Fa..,
Gerry D’Mello, Bendur



Henry T D'Souza – the light that dimmed leaving its radiance behind 


Konkani music lovers cannot have enough of listening to the evergreen Konkani song ‘Juliana Juliana moga muja Juliana...” immortalised by the soothing and soulful voice of legendary singer late Hemant Kumar. The song has withstood the test of time because someone jammed it with a catchy tune and meaningful lyrics that really struck a chord among Konkani music lovers. Many of us may not be aware that the lyricist and composer of this popular number was late Henry Thomas D'Souza (acronym Henry T D'Souza) popularly known to everyone as Guitar Henry. There is a likelihood of most of us mistaking the composer of this popular song with the living legend Henry D'Souza of Mumbai of “Ye Ye Katrina” fame who is also a big name in Konkani music. 

Henry T D'Souza, a talented musician has left an indelible mark in the Konkani music scene in a short span of 42 summers he spent on planet earth as accident (real or perpetrated) snatched away his life. By his untimely death Konkani music lost a gifted son whose musical talent and creative ingenuity would have enriched Konkani language and music to a considerable extent. Those who have associated with him, learnt under him, worked with him, listened to his music, hummed his tunes and lyrics or were a witness to his extraordinary music talent, vouch for his extraordinary talent and genius. 

From what I have gathered talking to the people associated with him and also to his wife Valentine Emiliana Henry was a simple and humble soul, who loved to carry his two little daughters Jane and Merlyn in his arms soon after returning from office and preferred spending his free time on guitar humming his favourite tunes. At a time when Konkani music had no takers and even lacked patronage it was Henry who invigorated it by kindling that love for Konkani songs in the 60’s. 



Childhood and accomplishments in music field

Henry Thomas D'Souza was born on 25th march 1931 in Modankamp in Bantwal Taluk. It is not known exactly when the family had come to Mangalore. But Henry was working for PFX Saldanha, located in Falnir. The family had a house in Attavar where he was staying with his mother and sister and he belonged to Milagres Parish. It is not known whether he was a self-made musician or inherited his talents from his family. Nevertheless he was proficient in many musical instruments. 

He was playing Mouth Organ, Harmonium, violin, flute and even Trumpet apart from his favourite instrument Guitar. Adolphus Cutinha better known as “Dolla”, recalls that he was a talented Mouth Organ player before he switched allegiance to Guitar. Henry was professional guitarist and was a music teacher. People always found him with a guitar and in Attavar he was nicknamed “Guitar Henry”. 

There is no clear information when Henry made his debut as a song writer or as music composer for films, Konkani plays or write perfect lyrics to the tunes of music of brass bands. Brass bands were an inalienable part of functions and events of Catholic people and these brass bands were quite popular in the 60’s and 70’s and the proved to be the perfect pedestal for Henry to demonstrate his music talent. He had a special knack for writing lyrics and composing tunes to waltz numbers and the songs caught public imagination making Henry a popular name in Konkani music. At a time when public response to the songs was only lukewarm Henry single-handedly shouldered the responsibility of rekindling the Konkani flavour among the people. 

It was through the Konkani plays of photographer G D'Souza, known by his pen name Giri Chickmagalur, that Henry firmly established himself on Konkani stage. Henry was the music composer for all the 26 plays of Giri and the chemistry between them really worked wonders leaving a rich legacy to Konkani music. 

While Henry’s popularity was at its zenith, thanks to the brass bands and plays that popularised his lyrics, he got offers to compose music for Konkani movies when some zealous Catholics ventured into producing movies in Konkani. When Peter Gonsalves of “Tisri Cheet” fame decided to produce the first ever Konkani movie from Mangalore, Henry T was chosen to write the songs and compose music. But Henry had already committed himself to composing music for late Gabbu Urwa’s unnamed movie and therefore he had suggested the name of Rony Bondel to write the songs. Tisri Cheet movie was jinxed from the beginning as it was beset with a battery of problems resulting in a delay of almost 7 years in its release. 


Versatile Musician 

Henry’s forte in music encompassed a wide range of fields. He was a composer, lyricist and instrumentalist who could play a handful of instruments. His wife Valentine recalls “playing guitar was his favourite pastime and he was always happy when he was playing guitar”. 
Singer Melwyn Peris who is mulling presenting a musical evening at Kalangann based on Henry’s songs recalls “he was one of the best guitarists I have ever come across with immense talent and potential. He could enrapture the audience with his extraordinary talent and hold over the Guitar chords. I remember I had picked up one of his tunes when he had come to our home as he was composing music to the plays organised by “Sangeet Ghar”. 

Though I was just six years old I was mesmerised by his guitar playing style”. Some of the popular songs composed by him are “Bapaiche Sthan”, “Moga tuji Chinthna Mothinth yethana” sung by Lizzy and Timoti, ‘Radonk Yetha thuka chinthana” and some Waltz songs like “Kaliz Tuvem Mujem Chirley” and many more. Dolla says Henry’s contribution is noteworthy because was the know-it-all musician having his pie in every field of music”. 


Family life

The Month of March is significant in the life of a phenomenon called Hentry T D'Souza. He was born in March, got married to Emiliana on 30th March 1970 and finally left this world 29th March, 1973, leaving the Konkani music world poorer. Emiliana’s brother Oswald was working for PFX Saldanha and they were also distant relatives. Love blossomed between the two young birds resulting in their marriage age gap notwithstanding. The couple’s older daughter Jane Doris was born in 1971 followed by second daughter Merlyn in 1972 in quick succession. Emiliana’s eyes become damp when she recalls that Henry had a liking for girl children and he dotted on his daughters. It was a delight to see him amble in the courtyard carrying his daughters in both hands in the evening after returning from office. As Jane and Merlyne were toddlers they have no memories of their own about their father. But whenever they hear about his accomplishments they say they feel proud of their dad. 


Emiliana was quite young at the time of the marriage and she says though Henry tried to familiarize her nuances of music she was not able to reciprocate as she was too preoccupied in bringing up their children. She also recalls that on the fateful day of his death on March 28th Henry had taken leave from his office and had spent the day at home talking to her, the very memories of which make her nostalgic.


Tragedy strikes in the form of accident

March 28, 1973 was the fateful day that took away the life of Henry in a freak accident though there are many unanswered questions about the accident. Tragedy struck when there were just three days for recording of the songs of Tisri Cheet. The group comprising singers like Rony Bondel, Victor Concesso and his sister Lizzy and many others had congregated in the house of Henry in Attavar for practice. Emiliana recalls that Henry had gone out in his scooter along with Rony Bondel to bring some curry from Jeeth Bar which was hardly about 120 meters from their home never to return. His wife and others were eagerly waiting at home for dinner. May be Henry was destined to leave this world at the peak of his life and therefore everything went haywire. When his brother-in-law Oswald came to know about the accident a few hours had already elapsed. To make the matter worse he was admitted to Wenlock hospital. Doctors attended on him only late in the evening as there was Mangalore Bandh on that day. 


Emiliana recalls that he was alright and even talked to me though he was complaining of stomach ache when she met him in hospital the next morning. “He wanted to urinate but could not pass urine and his stomach was bloated. He was taken to the operation theatre for surgery at around 6 pm and was asking for drinking water. If I had even the slightest inclination I would have given him water”, she says with a choked voice. Within the next hour the family got the sad news of his demise. May be if timely treatment was given or if taken to Father Muller Hospital Henry would have survived. 

After his demise Emiliana the young widow took the responsibility of tending for the family. She left her children in her mother’s care and went to gulf. After working there for a few years she settled with her children in Mumbai. She educated her daughters and got them married and now Jane and Merlyn are working in gulf with their respective families and are well off. His legacy continues through his daughters who carry on the responsibility in their own way. 

Emiliana is now settled comfortably in Mangalore in her well-furnished palatial home in Nandigudda. Her brother lives in the adjacent house and her daughters take care of her and visit her whenever they come to Mangalore on vacation. 


Conclusion

Though it is exactly four decades since Henry has left this world his legacy continues and people still recall Henry and his contributions to Konkani music. He gave a fillip to Konkani music when it was at its nascent stage. Many feel that if Henry were to live his full life he would have reached greater heights and attained international eminence. Despite his short stint in this earth he has left behind a deep-seated inheritance for which Konkani community will remain grateful forever. 

May the departed melodious soul of Henry T D'Souza.. Rest In Peace!


Comment on this article

  • Jane & Merlyn, Doha/Kuwait

    Tue, Dec 16 2014

    Such a beautiful tribute! Thank you very much Gerry D’Mello and Florine Roche for dedicating Do Re Me Fa in honour of our dad late Henry T. D’Souza.

    Florine, your efforts in gathering so much information in depth and put together such a beautiful write-up on him is commendable.

    Thank you Daijiworld team and Walter for considering our dad for this wonderful introduction.

    Our mom joins us in appreciating and thanking you Gerry and Florine for this great tribute.

    To all those who took the time to read through, comment on, write to us and inquire about us, thank you very much.

    Yours truly,
    Jane & Merlyn

    Agree [9]

  • Victor Concessao, Derebail/Mumbai

    Tue, Dec 9 2014

    Pranam mozo tuka mogal guru mojya
    Sodanch maan bagaitam rupnyak tujyà
    Sangeetant unchli tarbeti Dillie tuvenhaka
    Morasari runni zavnastolom hanv tula

    Tum harmonium kheltana hanv vachtalom gitarachyo taro
    Mini jieloi khaltya svabhavasari
    Sorvank tum manvalloi sangeetadvarim
    At Henry T D'souza name phakat tasveer tuji sobhta vonticheri

    Sabar vorsam uprant tori
    Volok Fuji konkni prajek sounsarbhori
    Gazailya Amt Florine Roche ani Shri Harry D'mello DoReMiFa
    Hankam hand sodanch abjari

    Agree [6]

  • Reshma Serrao , Mangalore / Mumbai

    Mon, Dec 8 2014

    @Chris Emmanuel Dsouza :
    Hi, read your comment. So true about the composers and lyricists of Konkani world!! However, the name is Timothy Serrao and not Timothy Dsouza :)

    Agree [6]

  • Victor Concessao, Derebail/Mumbai

    Fri, Dec 5 2014

    Pranam mhozo tuka mogal guru mojya
    sodanch man bagoitam rupnyak tujya
    sangeetant unchli tarbeti diloli tuven mhaka
    morasari runi zavnastolom hanv tuka
    tum harmonium kheltana hanv vachtalom gitarachyo tari
    jini jiyeloi khaltya sadya svabhavasari
    sorvank tum manvaloi sangeetadvarim
    atam Henry T. D'souza na
    phakat tasveer sobta vonticheri
    sabar vorsam uprant tari
    volok tuji konkni prajek sounsarbhori
    gazoillya Florine Roche ani Jerry Demello DoReMiFa
    Hankam hanv sodanch Abhari

    Agree [8]

  • CLITUS TAURO, Doha Qatar

    Tue, Dec 2 2014

    Thank you for the article on such a great singer! I just spoke to Late H.T.Dsouza's first daughter Jane Dsouza Lobo who is in Qatar...regarding this article

    Agree [7]

  • CGS, Mangalore

    Mon, Dec 1 2014

    'Kallza Thaun Mog Tuzo Hanv Kortam...'an immortal and emotional song is enough to describe the late Henry T.D'Souza, one of the greatest musician,composer and singer ever born in Konkani Music World.Though I had no opportunity to meet him, I had heard about him through his close associates like Victor Concesso and Rony Bondel.Thanks to Gerry D'Mello and Florine Roche for their exclusive write up on the legendary singer.

    Agree [7]

  • HENRY MISQUITH, bahrain

    Sun, Nov 30 2014

    A very good & enlightening article about Henry T. D'Souza, sir, we will remember you through your great composition as long as we live. I have not seen you still felt loved by you sir. RIP.

    Agree [7]

  • Ambrose DMello, Pangala/ Mumbai

    Sun, Nov 30 2014

    Thanks for the enlightening article. Though death took him away at an early age, late Henry T D'souza's great contribution to konkani music will ever remain, specially his song 'Juliana' - my all time favorite.

    Agree [7]

  • Apolinaris D'Souza, Valencia/Muscat

    Sat, Nov 29 2014

    Thanks Gerry & Florine for the wonderful musical chord. Just by one song "Kallza thaun mog tuzo hamv kortam" one can judge his musical talent and potential but God had different plan for him BUT this song will remain in the Konkani World for ever though Henry is no more. May his soul rest in peace.

    Agree [9]

  • Elias, Mumbai

    Sat, Nov 29 2014

    I was lucky enough to see him once in PFX Saldana Falnir. One of my friend Nobby told me that he is Henry singer.Good clarification since people use confuse with Henry T D`souza Henry D`souza.

    Agree [7]

  • Reshma Lobo, Mangalore/Kuwait

    Sat, Nov 29 2014

    Thanks Gerry and Florine for the wonderful article on a great legend Late Henry T. Dsouza..It also gives me privilege that one of the Late Henry's daughter Merlyn is my colleague.. She also like her dad is a great writer.. We truly miss a great lyricist, composer and instrumentalist in our midst.. Wish there was an album in his honour with all his hit songs..and we could still remember him...
    May his soul rest in peace..

    Agree [8]

  • Robert Tauro, Mangalore

    Fri, Nov 28 2014

    Henry T D'souza composed the music for my brother late Eustace Tauro's first drama "Ghar Zavoin" somewhere in 1970-71. I was hardly 10 yrs old then and I vaguely remember the tune and lyrics of one song from this drama. It goes like this "voran vaztan vaztan dis davnta, saunsar sogloch vo badaltah, punh tuka havn kedinch visruncho na......". For my brother's subsequent dramas Wilfy Rebimbus was the composer and singer and for another named "tunch muji vokaal" late Jerome D'souza was the composer and singer. In between I had heard that Henry D'souza had passed away but it is through this article that I could rekindle my memories and know more details about his life and death. May his soul rest in peace.

    Agree [7]

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Thu, Nov 27 2014

    Thank you for the article on such a great singer! It was emotional!!

    Agree [7]

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Thu, Nov 27 2014


    I have no words to express! In the fraction of a moment of watching the black and white photo, my ages old (1970’s) memories flashed back both in mind and heart. I saw the photo and uttered myself OMG this is Henry’s picture.
    My association with Henry goes back to 70’s when we were colleagues in PFX Saldanhas office. If I am not mistaken, he used to give guitar classes to Ivan Sequiera and lots of other music lovers. I do not exactly remember how many types of musical instruments he used play.
    Your memories and especially the song “Kallza thaun mog tuzo hamv kortam” are still afresh in the heart of thousands of music lovers. I am not a singer but I sang this song countlessly in get together or home parties here in Kuwait.
    I am thankful to Daiji for publishing this article in memory of loved and departed Soul. It’s greatest tribute.

    Agree [7]

  • DONY LOBO, Milagres, Mangalore (Qatar)

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    I had known him personally from the time when I was just around 7 years old as I used to stand close to him and watch him playing the church organ for the Sunday morning Masses at Milagres. I also used to personally see him teaching newly composed songs for the various dramas written by Mr.Giri …the owner of Royal Photo Studio and remember some of those songs and tunes by-heart even as of today…..like “Magtavum aaz, piyenakat, soro piyevunchen ten bovuss marekar”., I also remember him on May 8 1958 during the huge community’s procession protesting against the attack on Bishops’s house Church in the preceding week, he held my hands escorting me during the whole procession which was then addressed by my Father.
    Both my late Father and Mother were very fond of him and highly impressed with his service in the church and often handed over bagful of fresh fruits (collected from our own farm situated near Kelarai church)
    When I was 9 years and in 4th standard, and having just lost my Father, he taught me a newly composed song to sing in the school for a school function for which I won a prize….” Vaten vaat havun bovtan tel malish korta….modlyar hatpay, potant ailyar vai- Yhen tel rogdunk zai….yhen tel rogdunk zai “
    The news of his sudden demise through a mysterious ‘accident’ was very shocking to us for having lost a good friend, good musician and a very respectable person, but we never ever could forget him nor can we ever forget him.
    Thanks Jerry Demellobaab for write-up on this great man and am really happy for all the services he rendered to the Milagres Church, God in His own way blessed his wife and children to carry on and face life subsequent to his passing away

    Agree [7]

  • Edwin D' Souza, Angelore, Mangalore(U.S.A)

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    Thank you Gerry. Late Henry was my Teacher in Guitar. My personal friend Henry left this world very young. His small daughters were taking tuitions from my wife's sister in Cascia when I got married. He was a great musician those days. I sing his songs even now. When I heard about his accident in Milagrese I was working in Bombay.

    Again, Thanks for your article Gerry.

    Agree [8]

  • Chris Emmanuel Dsouza, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    Thanks for this refreshing article. Very little is known about Konkani Musicians who had enthralled the audience in the sixties and seventies. I have heard from many veterans, about the kind of craze and obsession that was attached to music and Theater Plays in those days. Mainly because, there was no television and stage served as the only source of extravagant entertainment.

    Juliana composed by Henry T is a immortal number. At the same time Konkani Music was enriched with such composers and lyricists like the great Lawrence Saldhana, Victor Consceso, Henru Dsouza, Timothy Dsouza, Jerome Dsouza etc..and an incredibly talented playwright 'Chafra'.

    Chafra's plays were too far ahead of its time, and probably if they were to be translated into English or Urdu, they would have achieved International Acclaim, he was our own 'George Bernard Shaw'.

    Agree [10]

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    I appreciate the efforts in compiling this Article. Henry T Dsouza true legend in the field of Konkani Music, even though he left this world at his young age he is living through his matchless compositions.
    Once again i congratulate Gerry Dmello & Florine Roche. Keep up the good work.

    Agree [9]

  • Simone Fernandes, Mangalore

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    Truly a unsung hero..thanks for clarifications between Henry-T and Henry-D. Emiliana looks soulful and very pretty, wish we had some latest photographs with her daughters. Also wish Daiji can produce one album with his hit songs and hidden compositions (if any with Emiliana) as a tribute truly it would be wonderful to listen.

    Agree [8]

  • Lancy Henry Moras (Lhm), Moushmi Creations, Bajjodi

    Wed, Nov 26 2014

    Late true musical GEM Henry T. D'Souza was surely a hidden musician from a village remote parish of Modankap and later he budged to the parish of Milagres. My father was a Bajjodi village expert and a true hero in gumtan bodovchanth ani mouth organ kelchaanth from and he always had late Henry T. Baab's name in his mouth and was a fan of him. I was a school boy and the song "Kallza thaun mog tuzo hamv kortam" was/is an all-time beloved song in the olden times of Konkani saccharine language.

    Late Henry T. D’Souza was really a veiled name due to the same name carried by Sangeeth Samrat Henry D’Souza (Katrina Fame) and one thing is pretty very much sure despite his short stint in this earth he has left behind a deep-seated inheritance for which Konkani community will remain grateful forever. I with no investigation totally agree with madam Florine and Baab Gerry for this and thank them from the nethermost of my heart for hosting a GEM of music in Do Re Me Fa.

    Today, we may be able to limb count few own gifted singers/lyricists/composers on our Konkani language but we are in a great forfeiture due to the clean departed GEM’s of Konkani language like Late Henry T. D’Souza, Late Amar Wilfy Rebimbus, Late Gerome D’Souza and Late Lawrence Saldanha.

    Through death God our only beloved Savior takes us to eternal life. When we are in this world, God wants us to love each other and all the things which He created. We should work sincerely and lead a good life through which we can prepare ourselves for our own death and thus we follow in the path of Jesus Christ who died for our sins.

    ಸಾಸ್ಣಾಚೊ ವಿಶೆವ್ ಸರ್ವೆಸ್ಪರಾ ತಾಕಾ ಲಾಭಯ್ ಅನಿ ನಿರಂತರ್ ಪ್ರಕಾಸ್ ತಾಚೆರ್ ಫಾಂಕಯ್.
    Modankap. My father was a gumtan hero from Bajjodi and he always had late Henry Baab's name in his mouth and was a fan of him. I was a school boy and the song "Kallza thaun mog tuzo hamv kortam" was/is a all time favorite song in the history of Konkani language.

    Agree [7]

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