A singing, swinging family

Music Family: Nestor, Nancy, Norbert and Dr Nigel.

At the same time, there have been a number of musicians who have been contributing to the field of Konkani music in their own way and Edward Norbert Pereira is one among them.

He may not be well known in coastal region, especially to the younger generation, but definitely a well known musician in West Asia, especially in Doha - Qatar.

With his latest album ‘Do Re Me Fa,’ released just a few months ago, “the king of simple lyrics and great music,” as he is popularly known, Nobby (as he is fondly known among his friends and community) has made the world of Konkani music more rich and more proud.

No godfather!

Usually, any musician will have some godfather, but not in the case of Norbert.

Son of John and Mary Pereira, Norbert was one among 6 children (5 boys and 1 girl) to his parents. After his early education in St Aloysius, he pursued his studies in the Karnataka Polytechnic (KPT), from where he obtained his diploma in Electrical Engineering and also a diploma in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (1978). In the same year, his father retired as PWD Divisional Accountant in the then South Canara district.

Though he went to Bangalore in search of a job in 1978, he returned to Mangalore soon as he could not adjust there.

One fine day, he was in Don Bosco hall in Mangalore enjoying the inter-parish singing contest organised by Konkani Natak Sabha (very popular then) from the audience seat when he was called to sing as one of the singers was taken ill. The team bagged first place and since then, there was no looking back.

Soon afterwards, well known entrepreneur Simon Rasquina’s son Arthur Rasquinha who came across Norbert’s self composed songs, gave him a chance to sing in the then Konkani plays. “Prithver Kalok” (Darkness on earth) is my first hit song, recalls Norbert.

Incidentally, the song is still his favourite.

The very next year (1979), Norbert went to Muscat (Oman) and was there for four years, before he moved to Qatar (1983), where he still works for Qatar Petroleum. In Muscat too, he composed and sang songs for the then two popular Konkani plays – “Kazarachi Dotorn” (Marriage Preparation Catechesis) and “Avnkar Mestri” (Unmarried teacher)
Soon after landing in Qatar, Norbert got a chance to sing with the then popular singer Henry D’Souza in ‘Henry Nite.’ Henry was so impressed with Norbert’s voice that he gave a chance to Norbert to sing in his 3rd album (song titled ‘Kumpadr’).

In 1987, when the legend Wilfy Rebimbus visited Qatar for Wilfy Nite, Norbert got a chance to sing along with Wilfy in 3 songs, he recalls with gratitude.

Norbert brought out his first album “Konkani Love Hits” in 1985. Subsequently, he launched four more albums titled ‘Konkani Pops,’ ‘Tuzo-Muzo Mog,’ ‘Naach Naach’ and his latest ‘Do Re Me Fa’ released this year.

Sound of music

Going down memory lane, Norbert recalls his early days. “Though I was keen to take part in singing contests and other such programmes, I could not, as my father was very disciplined and we had to be back in our home after school by 5 pm everyday. Taking part in singing contests was ruled out!” he recalls. But the inborn talent helped Norbert rise in the field of music.

On the other hand, Norbert believes that his father (who was also a sacristan at the Belthangady church in his prime youth) too would have some impact on him as singing hymns and liturgical music was part of his profession.

Interestingly, his wife Nancy (hailing from Chikmagalur) too is an accomplished singer and extends her support in all the possible ways. To top it all, the couple’s sons Dr Nigel (presently in the US and specialised in OBG) and Nestor (studying his final year in Electrical Engineering in Doha) too are wellknown musicians and are blessed with multi-faceted talents like academics, sports and other extra-curricular activities. Nestor can play saxophone, drums, trumpet, guitar as well as keyboard with ease, says his proud father and adds that he has a fullfledged music studio in his home with all types of musical instruments.

Unlike many musicians, he first decides the tune, then the subject and finally the lyrics to fit the tune, he says and regrets that these days established singers are sidelined which is a disappointing trend.

But a point worth mentioning here is that in his latest album ‘Do Re Me Fa,’ Norbert has introduced the 2010 Gulf Voice of Mangalore (GVOM) singers from Qatar – Rupert Sunil Lobo, the GVOM first runner up Preema Pinto, her husband Naveen Pinto (GVOM semi-finalist) and GVOM 2008 finalist Sunita Tellis. In fact, Norbert is planning his next show in Qatar in 2012.

Mr Karnataka

Body building is Norbert’s passion and hobby. He received his due when he won the coveted ‘Mr Karnataka’ title way back in 1977 when he was studying in the final year in the KPT. “Even to this day, I work out in gym at least 3 days in a week,” he reveals his health secret. Naturally, he looks much younger than his age.

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