Gospel music has quite a few Goan bands and the Facebook generation plugged in, reports Diana Fernandes
A new genre of music is becoming
a connecting highway to the masses. Gospel music is fast taking up space in iPods and mp3 players, especially among the intended target of impressionable youngsters.
Internationally, names like Don Moen, Hillsong United as well as the Indian ones, Yeshua, Mother Jane and Ehsaas have taken this genre of music beyond its borders. Then there are those who want no recognition for their work and simply enjoy performing for the masses. Goan bands like Forefront, Alcatrazz, Lynx and The Legends perform at weddings and parties, but a little known fact is of their involvement in gospel music as well. Concerts like the first ever Praise Adonaii held in 2006, saw a multitude of these talented bands come together.
“The band sees it as a way of giving back. God has blessed us with so many gifts, music being one of them; we only want to play for enjoyment and to be spiritually uplifted. While the melodies remain the same, we modify the songs and lyrics to our comfort level,” explains Seby Pinto of Forefront. Bands like Faith and Celestial Portal having a couple of tracks dedicated to this genre. While Faith’s tracks are softer and devotionally inclined, Celestial Portal plays more rock and metal tracks. “People see metal as violent music but we see it as a way of connecting to people suffering from issues like drug abuse and anger. The aim is to use metal music to steer them along the right path,” explains Celestial Portal’s Jesh D’Cruz.
Many believe that Catholic masses have become monotonous “The mass should be made interesting by including music and real life scenarios,” says Pinto. Vanessa Colaco recalls her days at her college church in Mangalore, “Mass was such a fulfilling event, we’d have an actual band play the hymns during the service. Here in Goa, the case is very different.” Samson Samuels of Taleigao, choir master of the local Church choir agrees. “Music is a means of worshipping as well. That is why we have songs. When training my choir, I always make it a point to make them sing as if they’d mean it and not just for the sake of it,” explains Samuels.
There are those that go one step further and combine their love for music and theatre. One such person is Alfwold Silveira. It may be recalled that Alfie, as he is popularly known, directed the popular play, Godspell. “I’ve always loved theatre and the main reason behind starting an ambitious project like this is to animate the church. People do pay more attention when the message is played out in front of them. The satisfaction is that many of the actors who have auditioned for parts in the play are students,” explains Alfie.n