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Cyprian Fernandes: Goan School Mombasa in Nairobi
Mombasa School in Nairobi
From the Nairobi Goan Voice, circa 1962
The pupils of the Goan School, Mombasa, on tour of East Africa joined their associates from the Dr. Ribeiro Goan School, Nairobi and the Goan Institute Nairobi in staging an impromptu concert, made up of some lively items, at the G.I. hall on Tuesday, the 7th inst., at 6 p.m. under the kind patronage of the Honourable T. J. Mboya, the Minster for Labour with the Honorable L. G. Sagini, the Minister for Education, presiding. The Concert was staged in aid of the Kenya Education Trust Fund.
Mr. Neves Pereira, the Principal of the local school introduced the Mombasa pupils to the audience and paid tribute to the efforts of Mr. Leo Noronha, their master and Mr. Xavier Almeida, the local master for coaching up their respective wards. Mr. Menezes, Mr. Pires, Mr. Dominic Carvalho and others were likewise thanked for their valuable assistance.
The Band of the coast school, 10 strong commenced the evening's programme with a March - "The Golden Mile" - under the able baton of Mr. Neves Pereira, their former Music Master, responsible in no small degree for brushing up their latent musical talents, before he came to this higher altitude.
Philip Mascarenhas, the 1st Cornet player, showed what Goan teenage ability can bring about. David de Souza who plays the Euphonium and Gay Noronha who blows the Trombone followed up close behind. The 7 others who made up the band were Francis Paul, Monty Vianna, Nelson Pereira, Larmartine de Souza, Shamshudin Carriton, Finto, Terrance da Silva, Theorilo Rodrigues.
The song in chorus was taken from Faust. Thereafter the Dr. Ribeiro Goan School Orchestra came out with some well-known hits. Luban Pereira won fame overnight as a crooner with his Ku-u-i-po. The artists who performed in the orchestra were:-
Cancio Fernandes - Accordion & Guitar.
Alvaro Mendes - Saxophone.
Ivan Pinto Morris - Trumpet.
Anthony D'Sa - Double Bass.
Silvano Gomes - Drums.
Amyas Mascarenhas - Melodica.
"Buena Sera" sung by Anthony D'Sa invited encores; but instead the orchestra played, "My Blue Heaven".
The Mombasa musicians under the leadership of Philip Mascarenhas gave, as well, a display of orchestral music which brought to light thrilling solos from the Cornet and Trombone. Their waltz "Around the World" was a earful, followed by a wheeze or two of fast jazzy stuff which was wound up with "When the Saints Come Marching In."
Quite tantalizing was the singing of Konkani Folk Songs. A notable aspect of this item was unexpected participation by a Gujerati pupil (girl) of the Mombasa School whose local efforts were surprisingly, and with a nonchalance, in harmony with Goa's rustic refrains.
They sang well enough, "Surya Neketrachem", "Undra Mojea Mama", and "Age Nari", but smug and snaky was the accompanying dance of the "Colvont" given by Irene Coutinho, whose nose-ring was intimately typical of a deva-dasi from Ponda in "Novas Conquistas" and whose dexterous hip movements tactfully swayed to the rhythmic cadence on the stage.
It was now time for the "Man in the Bowler Hat" which had been the local-school's entry in the School Drama Festival this year. Lean and lanky Albert Noronha with a robust and rotund Helen of Nairobi whose diction, incidentally, was first rate, provided the on-lookers with a hilarious Anthony D'Sa and his confrere Silvano Gomes both whom reveled in torturing the hero Zavar Rabady, to whose dismay the tender embraces of a sweet but expressionless heroine Eugenia Fernandes were rather too short-lived, to be replaced unfortunately for both by harsh digs from out of a dagger sharply drawn./P>
"The Maid of Domremy", by the Mombasa School came in for more applause than criticism. Jeanne (Irene Coutinho) went through her part with perfect ease and poise. In convincing her parents Jacques and Romee (David and Hazel) and the Cure (Bhole) she stuck to her guns to the very last and justly deserves to be the "one chosen above all others" in the cast. Romee's (Hazel) acting was balanced and mature bringing out the piquancy of a choleric temper of near-aging parent who like her modern counterpart fails to see eye to eye with a teenage daughter, whose amiability made a charming and determined Jeanne D'Arc; her only drawback being her stature and a natural tendency towards corpulence. The Cure acquitted himself well. The play was much enjoyed.
The Concert which was very well received by all ended to the strains of "Colonel Bogey" played by the Mombasa Brass Band to the accompaniment of the Band.
Our sincere thanks to Luban Pereira for sharing this 1962 Goan Voice, Nairobi article and helping us preserve a little bit of school history.
Additional photos of "Man in the Bowler Hat" and band picture courtesy Silvano Gomes.