With Love From ‘Band Members’ to ‘Band Leader’! Legend Trumpeter, ‘BAND (Brand) AMBASSADOR’ & 2021 Rajyotsava Award Winner Harry D’souza Honoured by United Artists Band (UAB)
Mangaluru: On 1 November 2021, 71-year-old Legend Trumpeter, ‘BAND (Brand) AMBASSADOR’ received the prestigious Rajyotsava Award 2021 in Bengaluru from the hands of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, and an overwhelmed Harryaab said, “This is My Dream Come True, and this precious moment I will remember for the rest of my life”. Apart from being a Third-Generation Master trumpeter, Harry is also multi-talented having written a bunch of poems, around 700 songs, composed over 2500 music tunes in Konkani, Kannada and Tulu languages and has also acted in plays and movies. At the peak of his career, Harry was at the helm of five brass bands, which played a Catholic Wedding & Roce ceremonies, and other joyous occasions, and also at funerals.
Popularly known as “Harry”, a resident of Bejai, Mangaluru, has served from 1982 as the Brass Band Master in “Harry’s Silver Band” started by his grandfather and has served as trumpet player and singer locally, nationally and in Gulf countries. Harry has also worked with more than 20 music groups and has provided musical training in Saanidhya Special School, Shakthinagar, Mangaluru and St Agnes School Institution, Bendore, Mangaluru. After retiring from the Brass Band, Harry’s aim is to promote brass band art which is losing popularity and train more and more people in the art and also conduct Brass Band training in schools.
When a brass band plays at a function, it’s as if the audience–dancing, singing to the refrain, 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 synesthetic transformation of materials. 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 different band members, Harryaam on special request does make his appearances at Catholic or few other 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.
After he retired from ‘Harry’s Century band’, Harryaam took up the gauntlet to become the band Leader of “United Artists Band” a music group, under the able leadership of music maestro F M Lobo, and Himself, both residents of Bejai, Mangaluru, where the band has entertained inmates of Old-Age Homes, Ashrams, and NGO’s free of cost, thereby putting smiles on the less fortunate people, and also making a difference in their lives. And for such a person like Harryaam, with appreciation and kind gesture, the Karnataka government conferred the 2021 Rajyotsava Award on him. Harry 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.
And with love for their Band Leader, the members of United Artists Band arranged a joyous function at the picturesque ‘Lobo’s River View’ adjacent to the Netravati River at Morgan’s gate, Mangaluru, to felicitate Harry D’souza for being the recipient of the Rajyotsava Award. The United Artists Band consists of F M Lobo (Violin/Organ); Harry D’Souza (Trumpet); Deric Furtado (Trumpet); Louis D’mello (Euphonium); Joseph D’Souza (Clarinet); Melwyn Pinto (Trumpet); Vashu Raj (Dhunte); Texman D’Souza (side Drum); Shailesh Fredrick (Bass Guitar); James Fernandes (Keyboard); Alwyn Menezes (Vocals); Ian Lobo (Trumpet); Conrad Mascarenhas (Rhythm Guitar); Prajwal Cordeiro (Trumpet); Sylvian Victor D’silva (Symbel); Anush Serrao (Bass Drum/trumpet) Felix Sequeira (Percussion/Drum); Wesley George (Trumpet); Dolphy Ferrao (Lead Guitar); and Richard Pinto (Side drum).
The programme began with paying tribute to the souls of Late Jacob Karkada, Late Dr Honet Cabral, and Kannada Superstar Late Puneeth Rajkumar, followed by a prayer invoking God’s blessing by Wesley George. The Chief Guest for the occasion was Prof Michael Crasta- Retired Professor in Science Dept, St. Aloysius College, Mangaluru, joined by F M Lobo, a renowned musician and proprietor of Lobo’s Riverview, Dr Vasanth Shetty- Administrator at Saanidhya Residential School & Training Centre for the Mentally Challenged, Shakthinagar, Mangaluru; Harry D’Souza and his wife, Mrs Agnes on the dais.
Following the felicitation done by the dignitaries on the dais, Harry D’souza thanked everyone for their support and encouragement throughout his musical journey, and out of appreciation as a kind gesture he presented mementoes/flowers to all the UAB members, and also Yours Truly of Team Mangalorean. He also presented mementoes to F M Lobo and his son Ian Lobo for providing the venue (Lobo’s Riverview) free of cost, and also Alwyn, the owner of Aroma Caterers for providing a sumptuous lunch free of cost. Prof Michael Crasta in his speech briefed about the activities of Harry and his band, and also mentioned that a FIRST Konkani musical nite of Harry and his group was held at Town Hall, Mangaluru. Joseph D’souza, one of the UAB members, performed the function. The entire occasion was full of fun, music, laughter, and dance. Harry entertained with Konkani and Tulu tunes on his trumpet.
No doubt music is in Harry’s blood. He is never happy unless he is singing or playing in the band. And that’s what he did. After returning from the Gulf he breathed new life into his father’s band. Having learnt to play the trumpet at the age of 19 years, he was a natural at ‘performing’ in the band. He composed his own songs, each unique to the occasion, his forte being the wedding pandal. Harry’s signature style of singing and playing the trumpet is endearingly unique and his alone. Harry says that he is making attempts to retain the original style of Konkani music and in this work.
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 in the Konkani movie ‘Mog Ani Moipas’. Harry has many awards to his credit, namely- “Karavali KalaShree 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 Saint Mother Teresa during her visit to Mangaluru in 1995. Harry and his 55 members strong group performed at the “Porab” event in 1992 which brought him fame and name. He had also led a group of band artists on foot in a procession carrying the ashes of Late Indira Gandhi from Talapady to Nehru Maidan in 1984. Mandd Sobhann (Regd.) had organized the Konkani cultural program ‘Saanth’ from November 6th to 21st, 1993 at Nehru Maidan, Mangaluru. In this program, Harry played his band in the special procession carrying ‘Vojem’ from the Lighthouse hill via Jyothi Circle to Nehru Maidan. He has also played his band for the opening as well as other functions.
He has contributed an hour’s band playing performance on the stage. A ‘Karavali Food Festival ‘was organized from 1995 March 10th to 19th in the Rain Tree corner of ‘Taj Cannemara’ five-star hotel at Madras. In the Baila Show program presented at this festival by ‘Mandd Sobhann (Regd.)’, Harry has taken part as a member of the group and as a trumpet player. These are just a couple of performances among many Harry had showcased his trumpeting talents, and had earned praises from all quarters.
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. It is also a known fact that the leaders of this band have unselfishly trained many persons in the adept usage of drums and wind instruments thus giving rise to many new bands in Mangalore.
The brass bands play a prominent role in keeping alive the beauty and culture of the Konkani language through the art of music. Harry has worked consistently for decades in order to preserve and maintain this precious heritage of the Konkani speaking community. For all this effort, it is reasonable to expect that the people of this community should be grateful to him and also offer their help and co-operation in the continuation of this noble task, during his retired life with no income coming in.. It is not very difficult to pinpoint the formula for this success story. Maintaining discipline and punctuality, quoting reasonable rates, sincere dealing and reliable service to all clientele irrespective of who they are, could be some of the factors that had kept Harry’s Brass Band popularity intact for all these years. Harry D’Souza is a Passionate, Dedicated Musician and Composer. who will give his LIFE for MUSIC! And my request is, “If you are still able to, Harryam keep blowing your trumpet, don’t quit. In the meantime, it’s high time somebody blows their trumpet?”