Mr Eric Alexander Ozario – Mangalorean Star
“Where there is a will there is a way” Dreams Can become reality. However, it needs hard work, determination, self confidence and risk. Eric Ozario, Co- Founder of Mandd Sobhann and Kalaangann and a born singer has made his dreams come true through his hard work, devotion and difficulty and above all self confidence and love for music.
Eric Alexander Ozario, singer, composer, full-time cultural activist, was born on May 18, 1949, in Jeppu, Mangalore. His parents are Late Prospero Ozario and Late Bernadette Ozario from Jeppu. Mr. Eric Ozario is the 7th among 10 subships. His 5 surviving siblings are: Evlyn, Sister Norma, Claude, Walter and Patsy. Mr. Ozario is an Aloysian, Commerce Graduate.
Though Mr. Eric Ozario did not have any formal training in either western or eastern music, he is a firm believer that one is born with a sense of music. Music has been his first love since childhood. He worked earnestly from his college days. However, he got into the movement of working for cultural activities after 1986. He has put forth 30 years of his life into music field and has spent 18 years as a full timer.
Initially he started a band called “Sweet Serenade”. He carried this for nearly 20 years and then he formed a band exclusively for Konkani music called “Dabazo”. This music basically catered to the needs of the people at the wedding and other programs. It was not serious music however, went on for some time.
Then came ‘Mandd Sobhann’ – This is something different which works for the cause of Konkani culture and uses Indian instruments and ragas. ‘Baila’ – Konkani dance that was well known among the Konkani people was waning in popularity was revived by Mandd Sobhannn and it had its first show in Mangalore in 1988 at Padua High school grounds. This was continued and ‘Baila Show’ was performed in various other countries along with Sri Lankan participants which is now famous internationally.
Mr. Eric Ozario was the Chairman of the Cutural Committee of the First Konkani World Convention (1995). He was a special invitee at the First North American Konkani Convention at New Jersey, USA (August, 1996). He is also the Co-Convener of the World Convention of the Canara – Konkani – Catholics to be held in Mangalore, in December, 2004 (Dec. 26 through 29).
He has composed music for more than 600 songs, presented around 600 shows (as a singer and music director) all over India and the Middle East (U.A.E., Kuwait Bahrain, Oman & Qatar); Recorded 15 albums (10 of self composed songs and 5 of documented folk); also recorded for state and national television. Mr. Ozario has also been twice featured on ‘Surabhi’ – a national T.V. show which features unique cultural achievers and achievements. (Dec. ‘92 and May ‘96). He has undertaken marathon journeys, tours and campaigns – to awaken the ‘Konkani heart’ and to create cultural awareness. Some of them are:
1. ‘Bhonvddi’ – For 75 days(Sept. 9 to Nov. 22, 1995) toured the entire country, travelling nearly 15,000 Kms. in a mini bus, presenting 67 performances – in preparation to the First Konkani World Convention (Dec. ‘95).
2. ‘Daiza Divya Yaatra’ – 100 days (Feb. 19 to May 29, 1996) visited 10,361 houses, lighting ‘The Lamp of Konkani Heritage’ in every house, in 3 Districts.
3. ‘Gulf Yaatra’ – 75 days’ tour of Gulf countries, giving 62 private performances, to plead the cause of preserving culture and to recruit support for the Konkani Heritage Centre – Kalaangann. (Oct. 3 to Dec. 17, 1997).
4. ‘Hyderabad and Mumbai Yaatra’ – 90 days’ tour of the two cities for the same cause, with a small troupe, giving 79 private performances (Sept. 1 to Nov. 29, 1998).
5. ‘Sanskruti Bachao Abhiyaan’ – (Sept. 9 to Oct. 18, 2001) 40 days’ walkathon within Mangalore city along with 60 street plays – to create an awareness for the preservation of Culture.
Mr. Ozario has organised events of national and international significance – all firsts of their kind – ‘World’s First Baila Show’ – 1988; ‘Baila International’ – 1989; ‘Porob’ – the first All-India Konkani Cultural Festival – 9 days’ – 1992; ‘Saanth’ – the first All-India Konkani Cultural Fair and Exhibition – 23 days – 1993; ‘Singing Marathons’ – 2 (12 hours non-stop – ’93 and 13 hours non-stop – ’95); ‘First Konkani World Convention’ – ’95 (as Chairman of Cultural Committee); ‘Manddo Utsav’ – 2003 (assembling 954 singers in a single choral group – a world record); Worked with various sections of the Konkani community, to revive the dead forms and to preserve the dying forms of folkarts (songs & dances) – communities such as ‘Kudmi’ (tribals), ‘Kharvi’ (fisher-folk), ‘Navayati’ and ‘Daldi’ (Muslim), ‘Siddi’(Afro-Indians), ‘Gumtamgaar’ (Christian folk-artistes) etc. and other Konkani communities all over India.
In the revival and preservation of folk forms, traditions and customs, contributed the following Innovations – ‘Mandd Sobhann’ – the musical experiment (folk base); ‘Gumat Sobhann’ (revival of the folk percussion instrument); ‘Mattov Sobhann’ (revival of wedding traditions); ‘Baila Dance & Show’ (revival of the Konkani dance-form); ‘Bhurgyalem Sobhann’ (revival of children’s songs).
Other innovations are – ‘Konkani Darshan’, ‘Bhakti Sobhann’, ‘Aangann Sobhann’, ‘Jevann Sobhann’, ‘Pallnya Sobhann’, ‘Moga Sobhann’, ‘Dabazo’, ‘Bosnni’, ‘Nach Sobhann’ etc.
Mr. Ozario has been honored and awarded by – ‘Karnataka Rajya Prashasti’ – ’93 (Govt. of Karnataka); ‘Senior Artiste Fellowship’ – Mar. 2000 to Feb. 2002 (Govt. of India); ‘Vishwa Konkani Kala Ratn’ (Gem of Konkani art-world) – awarded at the World Convention – Dec. ’95; ‘Borpi Meetr Award’ – Muscat, Oman – 2003; ‘Sandesha Special Award’ – ‘93; and Karanataka Konkani Sahitya Academy Award’ – ‘99.
His other titles and honors are: ‘Konkani Kala Samrat’ (Emperor of Konkani Arts) – ’92; ‘Bhonvddi Sardar’ (Knight of Campaign) – ’95; ‘Sardarancho Sardar’ (Knight of Knights) – ’95; ‘Konkani Sanskrutik Raibari’ (Ambassador of Konkani Culture)– ’96; and ‘Konkani Kranti Veer’ –‘97
He has performed in Dubai – 1995; Kuwati, Muscat, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE (Gulf Yaatra) –1997; Abudhabi, Dubai (Baila Arabia) –1999; Dubai (Baila Masala) – 2000 and Dubai, Qatar (Sobhann Nite) – 2002.
His Projects in hand are: Establishment of KALAAKUL – the College of Konkani Performing Arts (July 2004); Organizing the WORLD CONVENTION of the Canara-Konkani-Catholics (Dec. 2004) – as its Co-convener; He is In the process of establishing – ‘KONKANI T.V.’ – (a permanent program on local channel) – from October this year.
Whatever Eric Ozario has done in Konkani, he has done through ‘Mandd Sobhann’ – the premier Konkani Cultural Organisation – which he Co-founded along with ‘Chafra’ and Melvyn Rodrigues, and of which, he is the ‘Gurkaar’.
Mr. Ozario is married to Joyce Fontes from Jeppu, Mangalore, a singer herself and is a part of all his performances. He has one daughter Dr. Rashmi Kiran, M.S. (E.N.T.), who entered the stage as a solo singer at the age of 3. She is married to Alwyn Fernandes a Music Director. His son, Rithesh Kiran is a good singer and a guitarist. Mr. Ozario is a proud grandfather of Eshan Fernandes. His family has been with him through all his struggles and pains that he has undergone. Without their co-operation it would have been impossible to achieve this feat he says and they have stood by him and supported his every act, which is his greatest blessing.
Mr. Ozario’s message to the readers of Mangalorean.com
“One’s identity is in his/her language and Culture. If identity is lost, everything is lost. It is time that we wake-up to the dangers of the extinction of our language and Culture.”
Mangalorean.com wishes Mr Eric Alexander Ozario the very best in his future endeavors.
Rocky Quadres, Bengaluru, India:
Very nice article.
Rocky D’Souza, India:
I get to believe now that one can be a musician, composer and all that despite not being oriented in music. For me 2 personalities like our Sonu Nigam and our Eric Ozario are synonymous because both of them simply mean music, dedication, creation, authenticity and everything that is believable in music.
My hearty wishes for everything. I truly love his music. Wish I could learn music from him, alas !
Rocky D’Souza in Brahmavar Udupi
herman sequeira, corjuem aldona goa, India:
Eric, tujea olsle hazar varsani ek pautt zalmak yetaat. tujem kamm vakandit titlem thoddem.
Borem kamm korit rau, devan tuka lamb jivit divchem
eshan fernandes, India:
he is my grandpa.
sandeep soans, Israel:
this article of mr.eric found to be the best one I ever read. may god bless him. wishing all success.