Wilfyab forever in my heart…
Our death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us, our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life. ~Albert Einstein
You get to know them; you are affected by their personality. Every time you interact with a person, your life is altered in some way. There are just a few individuals who are well known, have a humble, down to earth nature and who come into your life and you feel totally blessed because practically every contact with them leaves you feeling better about yourself and about life. Sometimes, you feel embarrassed because you always feel that you receive more from this person than you can give to them. A person who has affected my life and many others in this manner is none other than a great legend, the one and only Konkan Kogul, Wilfy Rebimbus.
Eulogy is a Greek word that means “good words” and I only have good words about our beloved Wilfyab. With his death, Mangaloreans have lost a great Singer, and a wonderful talented person. Every person you meet and get to know is a special creation of God. How we define a Great Man may vary, but I thought of a couple of things that may sum up a great man such as Wilfy Rebimbus:
• Someone, who has a positive impact on an individual or a society
• Someone, who takes his profession to a above normal or average level
• Someone who is admired by many
(Queenie Mendonca, Chicago – Co-editor of www.mangalorean.com with Wilfy during her visit to Mangalore recently)
When I was growing up, we used to listen to Wilfyab’s songs and attend Wilfy Nite’s. Even though I knew Wilfyab, I didn’t have a chance to communicate with him in person, but after my marriage with Jossie Mendonca, I came to know more about Wilfyab. They were neighbours and I heard my father-in-law, Michael Mendonca, sang with Wilfyab for a few years in the early 60’s. When my father in law passed away in 2000, Wilfyab approached Jossie and humbly requested if he would donate a library for the Jeppu community in his parent’s memorial. He said he had asked a few people, but had been unsuccessful. Although it was a crunching time for us, we could not refuse his request based on the respect we had for him. Ever since then Jossie and I have become more and more close to him and his family.
I had the pleasure of meeting him face to face during our first family vacation in 1995. During our second family visit in 2003, Wilfyab and Meenabai both proudly took us around to show the library and we spent quality time with them including an evening with the family and friends during their family get together. That was when he truly touched my heart. I was touched by his humbleness and the respect he showed to us. A man with such a great talent, so well known in the community, could be so humble and down to earth was truly unbelievable. His love towards the community was remarkable.
At one of my meetings with him, he expressed to me his long range goal… his dream of having a combined musical nite and drama. I also remember my brother, Austin Prabhu expressing his dream of bringing Wilfyab and Meena to USA. Sometimes in life we wait for an opportunity to come knock on our doors, sometimes lack of support and cooperation from the community makes it harder to fulfil our dreams.
When we received a call from my in-laws informing us about Wilfyab’s health, we were in shock. It was a bitter truth that very few people knew and hence we couldn’t share it with anyone. Although he was torn apart inside, Wilfyab continued his work till the end without losing hopes. Only a rare jewel can shine so brightly through life’s struggles and never give up hope till the end. His only humble request to God was to preserve his voice till the end.
When I received a call at 12:21 am from our team member from Mangalore to convey Wilfy’s news, I simply couldn’t believe it. Although we knew his recent health issues, it was simply hard to digest the bitter truth. As I write this, I still can’t believe he is no more. But I am consoled with the realization that he lived his life wonderfully right until the end. Wilfyab was well-loved and he had done so many things on earth. I will forever be grateful to have known Wilfyab. It is a great loss not only to the Konkani community, but to the entire world. A talented song composer like Wilfyab is very, very rare. He has touched the entire Konkani community with his sentimental songs as he conveys his message through the meaningful lyrics expressed in his songs. He was a rare gem in our community with a rare talent that will never be replaced.
When I visited his house in October 2009, he was with few people composing songs. He stopped doing what he was doing and sat down for a chit chat. He gave me his new song book – Kogul Gaitha, which I was very happy to receive. Living half a world away from him, the last warm good bye hug felt a little strange, the thoughts did flash my mind wondering if it might be the last hug, however, I did wanted to see him again; in fact I wanted to see him fulfil his dreams! Vishwas and Charlene came to drop me and announced their good news. I was so happy for them, and today, when I called to express my sympathies, I was told that they are expecting their baby anytime soon. I have a feeling Wilfyab is coming back to fulfil his dreams! Long live the King of Konkani Music – the one and only – Konkan Kogul.
Wilfyab is in heaven now and we are here expressing our loss. This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it’s our time to celebrate his life. He wanted to sing and make everyone happy. So at this moment as we say good bye to him, let’s all think back and remember how Wilfyab touched our lives. How he made us sing to his tune and how Wilfyab was as a person. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known a man named Wilfy Rebimbus who will forever be missed. We will all meet Wilfyab again and he’ll make us sing to his tune once again! All the memories I have shared with him will forever be cherished and remembered. Wilfyab will forever live in my heart… in our hearts.
Wilfyab, we so love you and thank you for your devotion and rock solid commitment to Konkani music. Goodbye dear Wilfyab until we meet again.
By Queenie Mendonca, Chicago
Mrs. Jasmine Moreira, Mangalore, India:
A great tribute to uncle Wilfy ! his immortal songs will continue to grace every occassion. May his soul rest in peace!
Valson Mendonsa, USA:
Mr. Wilfy Rebimbus, our “Konkan Kogul” is a great person, he has given lot to his Konkani Mangalorean community, once I had an opportunity to meet him over 12 years ago, he was a very simple, humble, un-selfish and music talented person, he left us with dignity. He will be missed all the times.
Joyce Alvares, Qatar:
A fitting tribute to the greatest icon of Konkani music. Through his music Wilfy Rebimbus will surely be immortal.
Well written and very touching Queenie.
Vincent Rego, Kuwait:
Reading Quennie’s article brings tears in my eyes, The Konkani world has really lost a marvellous gem and yes his marvellous songs will never ever be forgotten. May his soul rest in peace.
a very touching article Queenie. My heartfelt sympathies to Rebimbus family. May his soul rest in peace.
Anil Mascarenhas, Mangalore, USA:
Wilfyab forever in my heart…
It is shocking to read that our beloved Wilfyab is no more. I always liked his wonderful music which is very meaningful. My all time favorite is “mog tujo kithloy ashelo” It is a great loss to Mangalorean community worldwide. Dear Wilfyab you will be greatly missed. May God grant you eternal rest!
Shawn Correa, Canada:
A great tribute to Late Wilfy Rebimbus.
He will be missed forever.
Juliana D’Souza, Mangalore, USA:
Very well written, right from the heart and very moving tribute to the Konkan Kogul – Mr. Wilfy Rebimbus! It is very sad that he left us so early. He was a great talented writer, composer and singer. It is a great loss to our community. He will remain always in our hearts. May his soul rest in peace.
Lancy Madtha, UAE:
Very touchy article dear Queenie.
As you rightly highlighted Late Sri. Wilfyaab has narrated in many of his lyrics and consolidated in a pack of albums to procure, listen to, sing, enjoy and become conscious.
May late Sr. Wilfyaab’s soul rest in eternal peace.
Lynette D’Souza, UAE:
A nice tribute to our dearest Wilfyab. May his soul rest in peace.
Vigil Fernandes/Mangalore/Houston, USA:
It is a sad news to here that Konkan Kogul is no more. Our heartfelt sympathies to Rebimbus family may his soul rest in peace.
Long live his voice.
Praveen Raj, Oman:
A great loss to the world of Konkani lyrics.
We will raelly miss him.
Carol Martis, Kuwait:
Beautifully written abt Bab Wilfy, Quennie. It’s a great shock for konkani world….. His voice will live forever….. n…. ever….. Deepest sympaties to Rebimbus family. May his soul rest in peace….With prayers….
Kudpi Rajanikanth Shenoy, India:
Very well expressed sentiments for the Samrat of Konkani Music, Queenie.
Amarnath Bantwal, Australia:
A very intimate, up close and personal tribute to Wilfy Rebimbus- just last afternoon (here in Australia), I was humming Mog Tuzho and thinking of the profound simplicity of its composition/lyrics. A while later we get to read the news flash….a truly sad day for Music and for Mangaloreans across the world.
Stephen D’Lima & Family, Australia:
Very sad news to hear death of wilfy R, great loss to “Konkani speaking people” Our Heartfelt condolences to Rebimbus Family. May his soul rest in peace.
Sunita, Dallas/Mangalore, USA:
very sorry to hear about the sad demise of our legend ‘konkan kogul’. I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family members.
Heartfelt Condolences to the family on the sad demise of Wilfy Rebimbus. May his soul rest in peace