Kuwait: Names of the Kuwait finalists for Gulf Voice of Goa — Romeo and Zelia sound familiar to the immortal Shakespearean novel Romeo & Juliet.
While Shakespeare’s characters ‘represented’ love, Romeo Braganza and Zelia Rodrigues will ‘represent’ Kuwait at the 1st Gulf Voice of Goa Konkani singing competition scheduled to be held in Kuwait 22nd February 2019 at Khaldiya University auditorium.
Romeo and Zelia were adjudged best male and female finalists from Kuwait winning the auditions for Gulf Voice of Goa (GVOG) organized by Goan Cultural Centre, recently.
It’s a pleasure to present the 2 singers in profile:
Romeo was born in Kuwait to Silvester Braganza and Maria Conceicão Philomena Braganza.
Originally hailing from Saligao, Bardez, Goa, Romeo lives in Navelim, Salcete, Goa.
He had his academics through Indian Community School, Salmiya, Kuwait.
Talking about his love for music, Romeo says, “My dad had a liking for music and I listened to him singing especially when we drove anywhere by car. He always boosted our spirits by his singing. I can remember him singing even when we went through tough times.”
In the beginning, Romeo did not start singing officially or at any event.
“I still remember the song I first composed. It was called ‘Friends’. I have forgotten the lyrics that I wrote then, but still remember the tune which I often hum when I remember,” recalls Romeo.
EARLY DAYS OF ROMEO
Formally, Romeo’s singing started at the Colva Parish Youth Association when he first sang for an English mass under the guidance Philip Armando Gracias, a close friend.
Recalling the moment, Romeo says, “I remember Philip transposed the song to see how much I could strain my vocal chords to get to a higher pitch. Although it sounded like fun that time, he was the one who actually thought I could sing. Colva church assistant parish priest at that time Fr. Joe Rodrigues also saw my ability in singing, and under his guidance, I sang at many parish choir events.”
During his time in Goa, Romeo has been president of Colva Parish Youth Association, and South Goa Youth Animator for the Goa Diocesan Centre.
SINGING IN KUWAIT
In Kuwait, Romeo had joined as a teacher for Catechism and eventually joined the Children’s Choir as an assistant. The choir run by Maria Astrid and Clifford Fortes gave him another opportunity to sing and help children to sing.
Romeo’s hobbies include something that he loves to do which is emcee or be a compere at functions or dinner parties.
It is during these kind of events that Romeo normally tries to sing on karaoke which was hugely noticed by friends in recent times and even by some of his clients that paved his way to participate in the Gulf Voice of Goa Auditions for Kuwait.
Zelia Rodrigues hails from Calangute, Goa.
She is the only daughter among 4 children of Joseph and Chrispin D’souza.
From a young age, Zelia’s parents have instilled good values within all the children, and have nurtured the talents God has blessed them with.
One of Zelia’s brothers is a priest of Pilar Missionaries and is serves as the Principal of a Mission School at Nagar Haveli.
Her younger brother is a musician (bass guitarist) and a member of Goan Band ‘Double R’.
An Arts graduate from St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa, Goa, Zelia went on to complete her D.Ed to pursue a career in teaching. She currently teaches at Carmel School, Kuwait.
ZELIA – EARLY YEARS
She started singing at a very young age, her aunt Sr. Candida (also her godmother) was the one who inspired her to sing and learn devotional songs.
As she grew up and schooling at Holy Cross School in Siolim as a boarder, the Sisters of the convent recognized her singing talent and gave her the opportunity to be a part of the school choir. This was the turning point of her life, and she took singing as a hobby and passion too.
“I do not have any professional training in singing, it is purely a gift of God and a result of encouragement I received from my parents, friends, and well-wishers,” reveals Zelia.
“Till date, I have been a part of many choir groups, to glorify God through my voice,” says Zelia, proudly. “I have also participated in a number of solo singing competitions at High School and college level,”
UNFORGETTABLE STAGE PERFORMANCE
Zelia’s first stage performance was back in 2005 when she took part in an event called “Stars of Calangute” organized by the Calangute Parish.
“It was after this event that I was recognized for my alto-singing and Mr. Nevil, from Arpora, Goa gave me the opportunity to sing for his devotional CD album. I sang a song titled, “Bhogos Mhaka”.
Recently, Zelia featured in video album of Gaudencio Gomes (Kuwait) in a trio alongside Gennifer Marshall and celebrated Goan star Querobina Carvalho.
LIFE IN KUWAIT
After getting married, Zelia moved to Kuwait (her birth place) with her husband. She works as a teacher at Carmel school for the past 8 years.
Kuwait’s well-known Konkani drama director Shri Domnic Fernandes (President of KKM), was the first person to introduce Zelia on stage. She has sung solo songs, duets, trios, and even acted in one of Domnic’s drama.
“I owe my gratitude to Mr. Domnic for all the support and encouragement he has given me over the years,” concludes Zelia adding, “Today, with all the encouragement and blessings of the Almighty, and support received from my husband Anthony and daughter Cleone, my achievements have made me stand tall for a mega event like ‘Gulf Voice of Goa’.