‘Musicians’ Celebrate ‘Musician’s’ Birthday! Evergreen Trumpeter Harry D’souza is 68 Yrs Young

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‘Musicians’ Celebrate ‘Musician’s’ Birthday! Evergreen Trumpeter Harry D’souza is 68 Yrs Young

Mangaluru: Pepere.. pepere doom? that’s right, and I still remember my younger days when no Catholic Roce or wedding ceremony was complete without a brass band – Christian weddings were considered incomplete without their performance. But gone are those fun days of nostalgic and traditional music, because in these days of ear deafening music produced so effortlessly by club DJs, hearing real melody is increasingly a rarity. All you hear these days at a Roce or Catholic wedding reception is non-tradition Bollywood or explicit Rap music. Especially music played by the home grown country brass bands that resonates in the air long after everybody falls silent. These days the bands are coming down in numbers, falling prey to competition from events: A pity since players are trained artists with a thorough background in music.

Today no function is complete or considered ‘gahmmat’ without that unique blend of music characterized by the melodious and foot-stomping beat of Brass Bands. The demand for their presence at all weddings, processions and other joyful occasions speaks for itself. Unlike regular music group bands that can pump out a lot of sound with just a guitar and expensive system, brass bands are interesting because of the variety of traditional, wind instruments that they play, like trumpet, saxophone, clarinet and the drums. Despite all the odds and influence of western culture and music, it is nice to know that there are still a few brass bands in and around Mangaluru, that cater to the needs of people who still crave for some good old traditional brass band music.

When a brass band plays at a function, it’s as if the audience–dancing, singing to the refrains, laughing–is part of the band. They are two parts of the same thing. The dancers interpret, or it might be better to say literally embody, the sounds of the band, answering the instruments. Since everyone is listening to different parts of the music–she to the trumpet melody, he to the bass drum, she to the trombone or Saxophone–the audience is a working model in three dimensions of the music, a synesthesic transformation of materials.

And of course the band is also watching the dancers, and getting ideas from the dancers’ gestures. The relationship between band and audience is in that sense like the relationship between two lovers making love, where cause and effect becomes very hard to see, even impossible to call by its right name; one is literally getting down, as in particle physics, to some root stratum where one is freed from the lock stop of time itself, where time might even run backward, or sideways, and something eternal and transcendent is accessed. That’s the fun having a “homegrown country” brass band at an occasion, rather than a DJ spinning some techno and hip-hop music.

And one person among many others, who had entertained the crowd at Catholic Roce or a wedding reception for over 45 years is none other than Harry D’souza aka Harryaam, the evergreen trumpeter of His Brass Band “Harry’s Silver Band” – and even though he sold his business to a different band members, but Harryaam on special request does make his appearances at Catholic joyous occasions, where he still makes his presence felt, and brings back his brass band music alive, improvised and modernized, so that it is accepted by one and all.

Harryaam who was the member of “United Artists” music group, under the able leadership of music maestro F M Lobo, and Himself, both residents of Bejai, Mangaluru had entertained inmates of Old-Age Homes, Ashrams, and NGO’s free of cost, thereby putting miles of smiles on these less fortunate people, and also making a difference in their lives. And for such a person like Harryaam, the best way to show the appreciation was to celebrate his 68th Birthday- and the United Artists music group members joined in hosting a fun filled and joyous Birthday bash for their colleague at the Lobo’s River View- Morgan’s Gate-Mangaluru, surrounded by picturesque scenery, on Sunday, 21 October 2018 from 7 pm onwards till everyone decided they had enough of music, dance and fellowship dinner.

The celebration began with a prayer by Gurkar of Bejai Church Ms Pauline Lasrado, joined by Harryaam’s neighbour Ms Alvina Benny, followed by a welcome and thanksgiving address by the “Birthday Boy”Evergreen Trumpeter Harry D’souza, who presented a rose and a memento to all the band members of ‘United Artists’, even some of his close friends/well-wishers, including Yours Truly of Team Mangalorean-that was indeed a kind gesture from Harryaam. Then it was time for Harryaam to cut the delicious birthday cake, with his wife Agnes beside him, and also joined by the United Artists members.

Speaking on the occasion, Ln Ronald Gomes-II vice-District Governor of Lions District 317-D said, “I feel very much honored to be here to join in the birthday celebration of a music legend of Mangaluru Harry D’souza, who has entertained so many people with his music. His musical talents and singing should be appreciated, and youngsters should follow in his footsteps. Brass Band musicians like Harryaam are hard to find these days, and the tradition of brass band fun has been lost. While our great musician celebrates his 68th birthday I wish him happiness and good health”.

Also speaking during the occasion, Vasanth Kumar Shetty- Administrator of ‘Saanidhya Residential School & Training Centre for the Mentally Challenged, Shakthinagar, Mangaluru (where Harryaam teaches music for the students there), and Jagadish Shetty-President of DK and Udupi Sangeetha Kalavidara Okkutta, both praised the music talents and genius of Harry D’souza, and his enormous contribution to the community through his music and generosity- and wished him a long and happy life. Yours Truly on behalf of Team Mangalorean/Mangalorean.com also wished Harryaam with many happy returns of the day. The formal function ended with baila dance to the tunes by United Artists group, followed by a sumptuous fellowship dinner.

Harryaam keep blowing your trumpet, don’t quit. In the meantime, it’s high time somebody blows their trumpet?

A brief profile of Evergreen Trumpeter Harry D’souza: (for more details on Harry’s Band click on http://old.mangalorean.com/browsearticles.php?arttype=Feature&articleid=2143 )

Born on 21 October, 1950 Harry D’Souza had his schooling at St Francis Xavier School, Bejai and St Aloysius High School. Married to Agnes, he is a proud father of twin daughters- Hazel Reena, now married and working as a teacher in Dubai; & Henrita Rashmi, married and who was employed in Bahrain, has come down for good to Mangaluru and works in a private office; and one son, Hubert is working in Dubai. Harry not only managed his band, but is also a part-time band teacher at Raj Academy School, Ganjimatta-Bajpe, and Saanidhya Special school, Shakthinagar, Mangalore. Until now, he has taught band lessons at over 75 schools in Mangaluru, Sirsi, Hubli, Dandeli and few other places.

Not only a trumpet player and a Band Master, Harry is also a music and song composer-he has written over 700 songs in three languages, composed over 3000 tunes in Konkani, Kannada, Tulu, and has taken part in various radio and out-door concerts-he is also the author of a book of poems titled ‘Goveth’ , and has released ten music cassettes. Harry had a guest appearance part in the Konkani movie ‘Mog Ani Moipas’. Harry has many awards to his credit, namely- “Karavali Kala Shree Award 2018”; “Thomas steven Konkan Kendra Karwar Gharane Award 2017”; ‘DK Zilla Rajyotsava Award 2013’; ‘Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy Award 2002’, ‘Konkan Karaval Turbent Rai 2006 (KGWA-Kuwait), ‘Kalakar Puraskar Award 2007, ‘Sandesha Special Award 2008’ – also ‘Konkan Sangeeth Shree 1995’ and ‘Konkan Band of the Century 1996’.

He also led the first Vishwa konkani Sammelan in 1995, and also in welcoming Mother Teresa during her visit to Mangaluru in 1995. Harry and his 55 member strong group performed at the “Porab” event in 1992 which brought him fame and name. Harry’s Century Brass Band was one popular and traditional brass band that has surely pleased and won the hearts of people, especially Mangalurgars. Probably no other brass band has survived and played such a prominent part for three generations in this coastal side of the state, than Harry’s band.

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1 Comment

  1. We used to thoroughly enjoy these brass bands while growing up in the 70s when they always played during village weddings. In Brahmavar, we had Gloria Jyothi Band by Salins family and New Star Band by Suares family. As children and teenagers, we used to be mesmerized by the beautiful tunes they played. There were also good bands in Perampally and Malpe which were also occasionally invited to play in our area. I think only a few have managed to survive the orchestra led music scenario in weddings and celebrations these days. Miss those days.

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