Stars Next Door The Jimmy Van Rosi Story

Jimmy and Ligia Van Rosi


Jimmy Van Rosi
Stars Next Door
Jimmy Van Rosi
My life in music and musicians

Jimmy Van Rosi, born and bred in Kenya, is a multi-talented musician who is still gigging around Canada with his equally talented wife Ligia, who is the daughter of the legendary musician Mario Dias. Jimmy is a self-taught muso whose passion has been appreciated through the decades by the thousands of people who have seen him with the various bands he has played with. Like many musicians you will meet (again) in this series, he is very respected by his peers.


THE SPIDERS

The Spiders group was formed in 1962. The initial group members were: Frank Van Rosi on lead guitar, Felix Hermit on rhythm guitar, David Andrade on bass guitar, Warren Mcmahon on vocals and I was the drummer.


When Felix Hermit left the country, Charles (Sanu) Van Rosi joined the group and took over the rhythm guitar. The band frequently performed at Delamere High School, Cliff Richard Fan Club situated in Church House Nairobi, Woodley Club and at very many private functions, clubs and parties.


The Spiders appeared weekly for a short time on VOK TV’s Youth Club Program.

In '63 Cliff Richard visited Kenya for a one night show at Rowallen Camp. There was a competition the weekend before Cliff's visit at the Kenya Police Regimental Hall, for the best band and best singer with the winners opening for Cliff and being presented with the trophy. The Bata Shoeshine Boys won the competition for best band with the Spiders as runners-up. Warren, who was a vocalist with the Spiders, won as best singer. As Warren won the competition, the Spiders and Warren opened for Cliff.


When David Andrade left the country, Joe Peters (Jo Boy) joined the group as the rhythm guitarist and Sanu Van Rosi took over the bass guitar.

When Joe Peters left the group to form the Bandits, Vic Johnstone joined the group as rhythm guitarist and also played the mouth organ.

When Frank Van Rosi and Warren Mcmahon left the group, Luis Gracias joined as drummer, Sanu Van Rosi played the lead guitar, Vic Johnstone stayed on rhythm, I played the bass guitar and Gilbert Lopes joined as our vocalist.

When Luis Gracias left the country, Paulie D’Souza joined us as the drummer.

The group finally broke up in 1965 and all the band members joined other groups.



THE PLAYBOYS

Clifford D’Souza who played the keyboard started this group in the late 60’s. The others were Leo Rodrigues on drums, Luis Fernandes on bass guitar, I was on rhythm guitar and vocals and Brian Green, from the UK on alto sax. Brian was a trainer from the Royal Air Force who was sent to Kenya to train members of the Kenya Air Force.

The Playboys performed on many occasions at the RAF Officers’ Mess, the Dam Busters Club’s private parties and had a one-month contract at the New Stanley Grill. One of the highlights of the month was when we performed on the same stage with Jeremy Taylor of “Ag Pleeze Deddy” fame who was the cabaret artist for one week. The Playboys also played for many private occasions at major hotels in Nairobi.

When Brian’s term of office ended, the band broke up and I moved to Mombasa where I joined the Ghost Riders.

Clifford and I now live in Canada and have performed together on very many occasions. Leo and Luis live in the UK.


THE GHOST RIDERS

In the early ‘70’s, I went to live in Mombasa and joined a group called the Ghost Riders. The band was already in existence.

The musicians were: Jeff Pillay on rhythm guitar, Francis Port Louis on bass guitar, Roger D’Silva, (who was only 12 years old) on drums, Desmond Port Louis on lead guitar and I was on rhythm and lead guitar.

The band performed at the Little Theatre Club, Stella Maria Club and the Mombasa Institute on a regular basis.

We entered into a band competition that was held at the Mombasa Institute on a Sunday. The Ghost Riders tied for 1st place with the Shiftars Band. The Romantics took 2nd place. As the organizers of the event did not anticipate a tie for 1st place, they contacted Mombasa Sports Club to obtain extra trophies to be presented to both bands who tied for 1st place.

The Ghost Riders broke up when Francis and Jeff left to study in the UK.

Jeff and Francis now live in the UK. Desmond lives in Seychelles, Roger lives in Ireland and I in Canada.



THE BAND

In 1984, soon after Ligia and I got married, we formed a group called The Band.

We had Roger Athaide on bass guitar, Ligia on keyboard and vocals, Lesley Mascarenhas on lead guitar, Benny Athanasius on drums, Dinesh Patel on lead vocals and I was on rhythm guitar and vocals. The only African musician was the very famous John Zenze who played lead guitar. John is still performing in Kenya even though he is in his late 70’s – early 80’s.

Benny left the band when he got married and Tony Fernandes joined us for a short time on drums. Upon Tony’s departure, Jimmy took over the drums and sang.

The Band played for private functions at the Intercontinental Hotel, Pan Afric Hotel, Goan Gymkhana and the Nairobi Institute.

One of the most memorable performances of our time together was playing for the developers and contractors of the Kiambere Hydro Electric Dam at their Christmas party. The organisers sent a bus to pick us up from the Holy Family Cathedral and took us to the venue where we spent Saturday night in extremely lavish bedrooms. When we arrived at Kiambere and were setting up our equipment, Jimmy realised he had left his cymbals in the organisation’s offices in Nairobi – about a three-hour drive away. So he played all night using only his tom-toms, snare and bass drums. Whenever he had to hit the cymbals, he hit the air which caused the patrons to dissolve in laughter. This performance got us a few extra gigs from the patrons who were present, as they enjoyed our performance and selection of music. The band broke up in 1987 when my wife and I left for Canada. Roger and Lesley have since passed away. Dinesh is in the UK, Benny and John is still in Nairobi and Tony is in Canada.

Goa Stars Next Door where to pick up the last remaining copies

Goa


Frederick Noronha

784, Near Lourdes Convent

Sonarbhat SALIGAO PO

Bardez Goa 

9822122436 (please SMS if you can't get through)

0832-2409490 (landline)


We are making arrangements to reach the copies to different parts of the state, so please bear with us. In and around North Goa, it might be possible to arrange a drop. Please book and pick up your copies at the earliest, to avoid disappointment, as we have only limited copies remaining.


Stars Next Door ... where to buy your copy




IN a few days, Cyprian Fernandes’ second book in two years, Stars Next Door, will go on sale through friends in Canada, UK, Goa and Sydney, Australia. Less than a year ago, he published the much applauded Yesterday in Paradise.

His latest offering is already available in small numbers in Goa and new book will also be on limited sale in the UK and in Sydney directly from the author. Why this limited truncated release? Fernandes explains: “I did not get much return from my first book because the big publishing companies give authors a pittance in royalties. Stars is a personal book and it has been pretty expensive to produce and even more expensive to airfreight. It is printed on the more expensive and better quality 120 GSM paper to allow better reproduction of some of the very old photographs featured. It is also comparatively quite a big and heavy book: 270+pages.

“Hence postage is often likely to be an added burden. To cut down costs to the buyer, my friends have volunteered to make it available from their homes. For me it is not about the money, I will be lucky to break even.

“It is a labour love, something I had been itching to do ever since I was a young sports reporter in Kenya.” Much of the East African Goan sports history (like our general history) has already been lost to the disappearing sands of time.

Fernandes would be the first to admit that as an “anthology” of East African Goan sports men and women, much is missing. Writing from Sydney, Australia has not been easy to source material, much has been lost through the passage of time. Similarly, the history of musicians and tiatrists  (stage actors) is quite incomplete.

Yet, it is one of a kind, a historical reference book to some of Goans who were the Stars Next Door in East Africa.

The late sprinter Seraphino Antao, Commonwealth Games double gold medallist, dominates in a photographic essay. His long-time rival, the late Albert Castanha, who was indeed the greatest Goan sports all-rounder (track and field, hockey, soccer and many other sports) follows in the next pages. If not for Seraphino’s gold medals, Albert would certainly have been celebrated as “the greatest” Goan sportsman.

Dr Ribeiro Goan School is mentioned many times. Hockey Olympian Hilary Fernandes writes a personal tribute to the Anthony D’Souza, the English and Maths teacher who coached the largest Goan squad to stardom at international level. Everyone he trained will always honour him as the Master who was also a hockey genius. Silu Fernandes and Edgar Fernandes do just that.

Then there women, brilliant, talented women: sisters Astrid and Mitelia, Bertha, Zulema De Souza … and many more all tell their own stories.  Several of those featured in the book tell their stories in their own words.

Journalist Norman da Costa brings his own special flavour to a couple of stories, John Noronha tells the story of cricket in Uganda with celebration and panache. A tribute to the late Alu Mendonca celebrates one of the greatest Goan hockey players; his “rivalry” with his friend Avtar Singh paints a picture of the Goans v Sikhs hockey saga. There is plenty more … I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.

It might be a good idea to “book” your copy of the Stars Next Door with one of the following:

CANADA


JOHN NORONHA  
Lan.  905 273 4029 Cell.  647 643 4029
3542 Burningelm Cres 
Mississauga 
Canada.  L4Y 3L1

ASTRID FERNANDES (kenyacanada@sympatico.ca)
30 Allenwood Crescent,
Toronto, Ontario, Canada,
M2J 2R2   Tel:  416-733-1141
NORMAN DA COSTA (normandacosta@hotmail.com)
26 Lilly Crescent
Brampton Ontario
L6Y 3K3
9054521295

SILU FERNANDES (silufernandes@rogers.com)
3174 Huxley Drive
Mississauga Ontario
L5L 4S7
905 607 1395


UK

JULIETTE De-Menezes-D’Costa: Juliette.DeMenezes-DCosta@KPMG.co.uk
The Jays
177 Covington Way
Norbury
London SW16 3AH
+447557587079

GOA

FREDERICK NORONHA: fredericknoronha2@gmail.com
9822122436
SYDNEY AUSTRALIA
CYPRIAN FERNANDES: skipfer@live.com.au
 +610476916897




Stars Next Door... Don't miss out





Just thought I would give you, my very loyal readers and supporters, a heads up on how the book is going. As I type, publisher Fred Noronha is putting the finishing touches to the manuscript. Our book designer Nisha Albuquerque who has run out of the midnight all is just waiting to finish off the book and hand it to the printers. It will be a day or two. or three.

I am deliciously grateful to the folks who have already placed their orders without even the prices being set.

Consider the people who have contributed: Rosario and Joe Antao, delightful photos from the Seraphino's albums, similarly from Theresa Costa-bir a precious record of Albert Castanha's greats successes. Armand Rodrigues, Al Mathias (who never stopped helping) and John Noronha provide a video look at sports history in Uganda. Read about the delightful life of Zulema D'Souza. The Fernandes sisters Astrid and Mitelia were not only brilliant athletes but they are also great story-tellers, I am sure you will be delighted. Harman D'Souza is rebel with man causes but he loved sport and he tells you why in his own inimitable fashion.

Jason D'Costa, Jacinto Fernandes, Don Almeida and others have recorded with much humour, fun and seriousness (sometimes) the early days of the East African Goan migrant sport in the UK.
Hilary Fernandes, Silu Fernandes, Norman Da Costa, Edgar Fernandes, Bertha Fernandes bring a flourish of memories (including tributes to Joe Gonsalves),  many memories churn out a tribute to Nairobi Heroes, Young Goans, Nairobi Spurs, and lots more... and then there are the musicians: Mona Dias relates the delightful story of her father's unique musical skills, Edmund Silveira tells about his own musical notes, Max De Souza writes a veritable history of Goan bandmanship, the Bandits, Jimmy Van Rosi. Francis Noronha (one of life's delightful people) tells the story of George and Marq DeSouza.How about this for a "we'll meet again" from that very funny man the late Jack Fernandes and the very alive Terence Pinto. And the sign off naturally comes from the Alfonso Sisters.

My plans as that the book will be published in India. I will airfreight to various people who will help distribute the book within their postal area, thus saving on expensive further freight.

If you would like to save a book/books

SEND ME

NAME 
FULL ADDRESS
TELEPHONE NUMBER

You can take up or turn down the option once the price
is announced. I doubt if it will be much more than 10
in the UK, US, Canada in the local currency including
Postage and handling: I hope.

Thanks a million




Incidents at the Christening

Holy Family Cathedral, January 1958
The Christening

The nine o’clock Mass finished about 10 minutes ago but there were still quite  a lot of people still milling around and the grounds were abuzz with some low-voiced chatter in Konkani (the Goan national language) and the somewhat drone of the young English. This was sometimes rhythmic in its clarity, its exquisite gramma and punctuated by voices who command of the English language was still wearing its L-plates. That was the young adults and mature adults. The children were running around with gay (not the kind of gay the modern person is likely to imagine) abandon and creating the jam and treacle sweet din with their happy voices, their jubilant laughter and pat, pat, patter of running feet sometimes screeching to a halt, the noise somewhat  lessened the loose murram earth underfoot. 

There was also a large cemented compound adjoining the classrooms on the southern boundary. Parked fairly close to the classrooms were a few cars, these belonged to those Goans who were doing well enough to earn a motor vehicle. Others could only look on these cars with admiration, joy, celebration, pride … and a few with misplaced and unwarranted envy.

The reason that most people who remained after Mass were parading in better than their Sunday best was because there was indeed a solemn occasion to be birthed soon. Manel Hippolito Fraciscano D’Cunha, the three week old pride and joy of Orlando and Saibina D’Cunha. This pride and joy was multiplied 10 times because on the previous 10 occasions when the D’Cunhas had cause to celebrate Christenings, the subjects to be baptised had been all girls. Mr D’Cunha was beaming with a pride only a father who has finally after 14 years had finally achieved the birth of a son.
Immediately his wife, Saibina, had given the birth the equivalent to child a notch or two below a royal prince (at least in his eyes), he prayed like hell (not there is a particularly unsuitable term, considering the ceremony which will gather one more soul into the holy Christian kingdom, a with a permanent placed booked if he is holy and without sin) to the Good Lord never to bless his wife again with another child. She had wearied of child bearing and now that her job had been made complete with the arrival of Manel she was hoping that she might have to put up the shutters so to speak. That was her dilemma, if she did put up her shutters that may give the God-abiding Orlando reason to find release elsewhere. Saibina had been convinced for many that the then young widow Mirabel always wanted to get her clutches into Orlando. 

Often at various functions, both at the club and in the homes of friends, Saibina often had seen Mirabel slip her arms around his neck in full view of everyone. Once when she questioned Orlando, he had laughed it off and reassuring her: “You are my wife until I die. She is nothing but someone to be pitied a little. Her husband Minguel died so young.” Nonetheless Mirabel was always cosying up to him. Saibina told Orlando to tell her to “Go away”. How could he be so cruel? He asked Saibina. He put her arms around her and took her to bed. That night they made daughter No.9. When the child, Mildredinia, was born, he asked Saibinia, “See, how much I love you.” Saibina, in turn, had blushed a bit, as much as the aching back would allow her.
The night before the Christening, the ninth and final night of the Novena to our Lady of the Milagrosa (never understood what that really meant, Our Lady of the Miracle?), Saibina had asked Father Thomas O’Shannahan to perform the ancient Catholic rite of cleansing both the body and the soul of the nominated person. This rite of Cleansing was designed to ensure that the subject did not err either physically or mentally. The subject was virtually and permanently hypnotised into believing without reservation that should he sin, either by boy or by thought, he was guaranteed a permanent place in Hell.
Hence, in spite of the aching backing, the pain in her abdomen, and persistent light headache, Saibina wore a somewhat holy smile on her face that day. She even let her veil slip down her head … about three quarters of the way. This was not an issue. Only widows, paid wailers and mourners at funerals, others who felt holier than the rest or closer to God, wore the veil down to the tips of their noses. This was not just holy bravado, many believed in the intensity of achieving the Catholic version of Nirvana.

Even though she was a mother of a mixed football team (in numbers at least), Saibina had lost only just a little of her Goan elegance but today she seemed to get it all back. She wore a sky blue sari, dotted with charming gold leaf stars and the length of her sari had an inch-wide strip of gold leaf running the length. At either ends of the sari, there were beautiful braids of sky blue, white and gold. She wore a blouse whose darker shade of blue seemed to enhance both her sari and her midriff and her breasts. Like most Indian women, Saibina walked with an eloquently elegant step which is not learnt but one is born with, part of the DNA … sort of.

Orlando with his short and back sides haircut, his double breasted suit, a dark coffee coloured one, white shirt with a maroon tie, looked a reasonably successful tailor, which he was.
As the family gathered around the baptismal font, the ten girls in almost identical dresses, all very pretty in blue, with mum and dad and the dozing man of the moment and all the friends and relations, Father O’Shannahan and his four servers made a somewhat ceremonial entrance. The first thing he did as to bless the crowd with tiny drops of holy water. From that point on everything went like clockwork except for the God Father who seemed to forget where he was and what his lines were. He got a little help from the God Mother and Francisco Joao Baptista who gave him a staunch dig into his side while whispering the correct response.

At the end of the ceremony, the seemingly hours of congratulations, with each woman present seemingly hijacked the newly baptised Manel. Once the din had died down, everyone, other than those that had arrived by car, trooped away on foot away from the Cathedral. Orlando had arranged with Damaciano Carmelito Dias to drive him, his wife and Manel home. The girls would walk home.

The celebrations would take place in the D’Cunhas two bedroomed flat in Ainsworth Road, off Campos Ribeiro Avenue, opposite the centre hotel. There was ample room in front of the flat and Orlando had erected an army-surplus tent.

Arthur D’Costa had arrived with his rebec (violin), Alec Fernandes had brought his miniature drum set, and there were fellows I had not met before. Among them was an accordionist who would later belt out some exquisite tangos but because of the turf underfoot, one or two or three folks played “let’s kiss the ground.” Diego D’Mello was at his best on his trumpet and Pedro Edwardo was twinkling his fingers on the clarinet. Later on, some of the teenagers brought out their harmonicas and mouth organs and joined as much as they could. Oh I forgot, Big Max (aka Maxwell D’Costa) was there with his double bass.

All in all everything was set for a morning (of what was left of it) and afternoon of Konkani songs and dances.
The word Dekhni means beauty in Konkani. In this dance various women or girls who act as 'devdasis' or servants of God and perform around a lovely woman who is the main character in the dance.
The dance is performed to various percussions and has a story line to the dance. This dance and song has been composed by the Christians who were earlier Hindus. The famous Bollywood song ' ghe ghe ghe ghe re, ghe re saiba' from the film 'Bobby' has been influenced by this song and dance form. (Spider blog)
There were those never to be forgotten songs: Tabde Roza, Ya Ya Mayaya, Tuzo Mog, Besao tuje … Goa Amchem and more dances like the Dhalo which is dances by women late in the evening with songs of religious and social themes.
Then of course there is always the Kunbi dance of the peasants of Goa, especially in the south.

So it goes on and on until at the very end there are toasts, after toasts, special songs for the christening, litanies, special hymns for the day until everything comes to a drunk end with a song that goes something like Viva re Viva …
That is the music.

Food and traditional Goan sweets are another matter, especially the sweets. For a feast like the christening baking begins weeks before the actual day and sometimes involves the whole of the extended family. Similarly with the food, Sorpatel (one of the great pork dishes), chicken caldin, fish caldin, chicken xacuti, samosas, beef croquettes, double and triple layered sandwiches, pestalines, pork sausages (on a par with sorpotel in popularity), pillau, beef vindaloo, the unbeatable prawn curry, a fish curry, rechado fish (fish half fillet and fillet with a special masala), and a million other dishes. The memory of the Goan cuisine will leave your mouth watering for centuries.
So after all the drink (especially Goan feni distilled from the apple of the cashew nut and of course the requisite scotch and the local Tusker beer, Wincarnis for some of the women) and the delicious food, everyone it seems is fairly well sozzled.

There were three incidents that were typical of most Goan functions either generic to the mother country or peculiar to the colony of Kenya. I suspect it is the former.
In one corner: Angelino Faustos (Fusco - fart) was boiling like a witch’s cauldron, red hot from the bottom up. Opposite him Stephen (Coito “axe”) Fernandes was doing his best to remain standing up straight and pretending to look reasonably sober.
Fusco said, in a rather heated fashion, mixed with some hurt and possibly feeling sorry for himself because he felt his friend had double-crossed him: “Coito, you are a real bastard you know. A real rotten poppot!”
“Fusco, you are drunk and you are made. Arrey, babdia (drunk), why you say such things? I am your friend.”
“If you are my friend, why you were pressing your face against Christalina’s face.”
“Because she liked it.”
“Arrey bastard, you know we are almost like married.”
“Yes. Almost like. But not yet married.”
“Arrey ducor (pig) (and expletives beyond comprehension to non-Konkani speakers. There was mention of mother and father), you know I have already spoken to her mother …
“But Lina has not said “yes”.
At that moment all hell broke loose. Fusco turned his body into a windmill and all arms and legs came smashing at Coito who was very quickly rubbing his face against the dirt and Fusco was giving him a real thumping. A whole bunch of guys dived in separate the two. Coito kept screaming: Hold me, hold me … I want to take out his heart and his stomach.”
“Come,” said Fusco. “I will show you Lina.”  After Orlando and bunch of the elders (most of them inebriated themselves) arrived to scream “disgrace”, “disgrace”. Calmer minds becalmed Fusco and Coito.
Last word with Christalina: “Arrey Fusco … go make a fusco somewhere else. You are a disgrace.”

The second incident was not even an incident. It had the younger boys and girls in stitches and the old folks going “tchch, chichh, schuch …Saiba Bog us (God Save us).
Curly-haired George Erasmus D’Sa, who was in Form Six and heading for university, was dancing with Mirabel. The band was playing Blue Moon and both George and Mirabel were not gazing for the skies but stuck head to head with their lips accidentally touching, she turning away with a blush before resuming the position. He was getting ever bolder and pulling her closer with the minimum of effort.
All these moments of perceived romantics were closely watched by George’s mother Georgina. After about five minutes, she had enough. She rocket herself through the dance floor and reached her son and his momentary armour.
Georgina screamed: “You harlot, prostitute, have you no shame. You are 40 years older than this young innocent boy. Why are you rubbing yourself against him? Why are you spoiling his innocence? Get out, get out!”
Very quickly those dancing near the couple and others gather around them. Orlando rushed to Georgina’s aid. “Nothing is wrong,” he told her. She screamed: “Are you blind.” With that Orlando quickly ushered Mirabel and walked her out of the house and to her home about 10 minutes away.
When he got back, most of the people were leaving.
But, Saibina was waiting for him. “You got your two minute thrill with her.”
“Darling, that is nonsense. I only made sure she got home safely.”
“Why did you have to do it?”
“Never mind, it will never happen again.”
“Yes never mind, tonight do your never mind  yourself. I will sleep with the girls.”





Nairobi in my dreams of a long time ago

In case some of you did not see this on the Nairobi Asians site, gone a bit viral!!!
Soft, sweet, gentle things, kisses from a whispering Nairobi breeze on any evening, I remember about the other love of my life: Nairobi
My friends, many colours, many thoughts, many dreams, trust, loyalty, poverty and riches,  you don't count as money or wealth...
Watching the world go by in Nairobi National Park or fishing somewhere, anywhere!
Tea with a pretty girl at the Tea House of the August Moon opposite the Kenya cinema.
What is it that psychologically tricks our taste buds into thinking that fruit and veg grown anywhere else other than Kenya lacks taste, aroma, that just plucked freshness, and just does taste that Kenya sweetness. And why is this particularly true of those gorgeous matundas that I used to eat by the kikapuful at one sitting topped off with a couple of slices of pineapple. And what about the madafu? What is it about the Kenyan coast that makes them so different? And all those mitai sweets ... why do the laddoos and jelebies seem so different, the sweetness just right in the syrup, and laddoos moist but firm. Was it the water? Was it the air?
Green mangoes with salt and chilli powder, red paw paws and yellow papaya. Days when Coke was a drink and Fanta orange was the prize. When girls smashed ripened pomegrenate seeds on their lips or drank vimto make their lips red, centuries before they were emboldened to wear the "devil's colours" lipstick. The looked great au naturel!
Grams and jugus (groundnuts) cooked in hot sand ... delicious also charcoal grilled corn (maize) and yam chips (muhogo), packets of papetas and pocket-fuls of jamlums (jamuns) guavas (more salt and chilli), thick KKC milk cream with a little bit of sugar or joggery, sweet potato cooked in the hot charcoal ashes, avocado with a little sugar or smashed in milk (or with icecream, like faluda), thick masala tea, banana fritters and pancakes to die for ... so soft you never felt you actually ate them, sweetened balls of popcorn and white sugared grams, syrupy dried nut crunches, sugar and butter on hot chappattis, diwali sweets, idd sweets, Christmas sweets, wedding sweets, Nirmala's halwa (who can ever forget that) sweet sweet mandaasi, irio, maharagwe, skinny muchusi (curry) and the king of foods: ugali. Roasted bananas and delish banana fritters. Like kisses, soft, sweet pancakes with honey or fillings of grated coconut and joggery! The fruit and vegie carts outside our homes each morning followed by the lullaby of the “chupa na debe” (bottles and cans) men! The happy-go-lucky wabenzi tiffin carriers who took warm, daily cooked food for the bwanas in town.
Stern fathers who rarely spoke to their children and mums who fussed worse than mother hens and you only learnt to miss all that when they were gone but you loved them every minute of your life.
Music: Fadhili Williams and Malaika that opened a new world of music to the uninitiated. Bata Shoe Shine Boys and Inspector Gideon and the Police Band who showed us a new kind music with Kenya soul. Henry Braganza and the Supersonics, The Bandits, the Rhythm Kings, Cooty's bands, The Wheelers, Max Alphonso's unforgettable harmonica playing, Steve Alvares and his band and the talented Alvares family, classical, jazz, dance and pop.
Escape to India at the Shan or Odeon or the wonderful family musical parties or those boisterous but wonderful Sikh weddings.
And just for Aftab Jevanjee: basking in the midday sun, not too far from the hustle and bustle of the city, in then beautiful gardens where children ran wild like butterflies on Saturdays and Sundays where the family gathered for an Indian picnic made in heaven. My nostrils are still filled with the rich aromas!
Dinner at too many Singh's restaurants, or Punjabi snacks at tiny bars in the suburbs or roast chicken at the Sikh Union accompanied by four fingers of scotch paraded as two fingers, the forefinger and the little finger. The gentle advice from my many Sikh uncles!
Puberty and growing up at all the social clubs, especially the Goan clubs, the music, the dances, the girls, the friends, the sports, the laughter and carefree, happiest times of my life.
Working at the Nation: the greatest moments of my life!
Lunch and drinks any Saturday at the Tropicana and their brilliant salad tray!
Faluda at Keby's
The world's best samosas and aloo bajjias at the Ismalia Café opposite the Khoja Mosque.
Maru's Cafe in Reata Road.
Kheema-mayaii chapatis, delicious kebabs cooked fresh every where ,the likes of which I have never seen or tasted again.
Quiet contemplation in the grounds of the Jamia Islamia Mosque or Holy Family Cathedral.
Coffee at with lawyers at Nairobi Town Hall
Coffee and snack at Snocream
Midnight rendezvous at Embakasi Airport.
The drives to anywhere outside of Nairobi .... Karen, Nairobi National Park, Thika, Kiambu, Liumuru, Naivasha, Gilgil, Nakuru anywhere, a million dreams.
World's greatest breakfasts at the Wagon Wheel Hotel Eldoret, Kericho Tea Hotel, Nakuru Hotel.
The bathing of the mind at any game lodge: Watching that magical moment, the last neno second when day morphs into night. The first chorus of the night orchestra mixed with the grunting sighs of the animal kingdom going to lala.
Eastleigh, Pangani, Juja Road, River Road. Starehe. Kariokor. Dagoretti. Killeshwa, Mincing Lane, Nairobi markets, the churches, the temples, a million smiles.
Kariokor Market: The world's greatest nyama choma (barbecued meat) served with onions tomatoes, green coriander, pinch of salt, drop of vinegar and on the rare occasion a slice of lemon.
The bands, the music, the dancing, Swiss Grill, Topaz Grill Room, Equator Club, Sombrero, Starlight, Equator Inn, Jeans Bar, Caiados Bar, Indian Bazaar, Museum, Ngong racecourse,
Waited with panting nostrils each Easter to cover the East African Safari. I will treasure every single moment I spent in each and every game lodge, one of the greatest experiences of my life and everyone should do it at least once. If you need any help my mate Lewis De Souza will set it up for you!
I am sure you guys have your own special memories
Hey, hey they told us: don't fall in love. Everything will be arranged. And for many so it was. We brownskins had to stick to our respective communities and assimilation was out of the question. We had been conditioned into accepting that to the point it had become part of our DNA. A few broke the taboos and were instantly marooned in a world far from the rest of us. We did not see anything wrong with that. It was the time, it was the place, and it was the custom.
We were many religions, many faiths, many customs, many traditions and we each kept firm with that which we honoured our fathers and mothers for. We respected each other's boundaries and did our own individual thing. Yet, we got along, played sport together, even socialised in small proportions and we were no strangers to each others houses when we were children and growing up. We had little or nothing to do with the white socially. For one thing they lived the other side of town and we were really familiar with their airs and graces or thought mistakenly perhaps that we may not do the right thing. Anyway, they were not a part of our world and we did not even think about. It was the same with Africans. Although we did not know it at the time, this was the British conspiracy of separate development at work. It did not both us.
There were no suicide bombers tearing people to shreds, no inter communal riots, great marches of protests, boycotts, blackmail, street brawls and all that is ugly and all around us today. We have know what it is to be alive and free, free enough to feel the wind in our hair, hope in our hearts and love in our souls where really the human for the most part could be as calm, cool and gentle as the climate itself. You will gather by now that I have treasured the friends I made all my life. For an investigative journalist you  might think naïve with a head full of some light gas considering the pain and death was all around us for some of the time. I prayed for them then and I pray for them now. So I will ask your forgiveness and ask you to allow me my moments of yesterday's exhilaration. Life is beautiful. In the end you really only remember the good

Sydney's Songbirds

Beverley de Rosario, Silroy Thomas, Dinham Suhood, Leela Pacheco, Mary-Ann Morrell, Gloria Vaz, Marilyn Thomas, Alfred Vaz, Nyrelle Duncan, Mona Dias, Pax Crowe, Doug Gerke, Bart Pacheco  (seated), Joe Menezes (absent).



The "Songbirds" was started out by a very accomplished lady pianist, who played the piano at a Nursing Home - she invited a few of us to sing - there were only 3 singers then! Now the current Songbirds' group comprises of 14 volunteer singers/musicians, mainly retired (5 men and 8 women) who are all from diverse backgrounds. They would like to give back to the community in some way through entertainment and to bring some happiness and self-satisfaction not only to themselves, but as well as to the older generation of the nursing homes.
For the past approximately 14 years the Group has been singing on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at two Aged Care Nursing Homes and despite the distances some have to travel, they consider this contribution a de-stressor too! It has a Nonagenarian musician, who played professionally many years ago and is an accomplished pianist - he is also quite adept with playing the saxophone and clarinet. We have two other exceptionally talented pianists, one of whom is also our Maestro and the other an Octogenarian. A couple of the singers come from musical backgrounds and able to sing both Alto and Soprano.
This group has been well received by the residents of the two nursing homes where we sing and they look forward to the days we come to entertain them. This has been the response not only from some of the residents but also the nursing home directors. The expression of joy in each of their faces is enough motivation to keep us going. Seeing the frail aged residents respond with a tune and a smile as we provide enjoyment and diversion from their everyday routine, encourages us to give a little more through music stimulation and social interaction, musical appreciation, recall, reminiscing and songs of their youth which is also special to us all.
During the Christmas Festive season, the group sings the usual Christmas songs and dress the part of wearing red and white with Christmassy hats and such like attire.
The repertoire of the Songbirds is mixed as many of the older aged care generation have hailed from the UK or Ireland – we sing songs which they can reminisce of the youth or an era they know well, like songs of Frank Sinatra, old wartime songs, musical theatre numbers and even modern songs from the Beatles! We of course include well known Australian folk songs.
We have now combined this with singing songs from the popular Cabarets and Show stoppers which is well received, as each aged person is given a copy of the songs for them to participate in. Their enthusiasm is infectious and we are at times tempted to get up and dance!!
Music is the door to our Souls!




Effie Antao, great footballer!



Effie Antao

In Memoriam


MANUEL ‘EFFIE’ ANTAO
Born 21/01/1934 Mombasa
Died 5/10/2017 Sydney Australia


Another former Liverpool and Mombasa representative player, Manuel “Effie” Antao has passed away in Sydney in Australia. In the 1960s and 1070s heyday of Mombasa football, Effie Antao was one of the most respected centre-halves in the country. He played the bulk of his soccer for Liverpool but also represented Goan Institute Mombasa and the Mombasa District.
He was a very a strong man and one of the toughest players to play against. He stood his ground and never gave way to any player. He was also very nimble on his feet for a big man. Perhaps the most outstanding characteristic about this much loved football star was that he had one of the hardest kicks anywhere in East Africa. There were man goal post net that looked a sorry site with holes punctured in their by Effie’s powerful free kicks.
As tough as he was, he also had a twinkle in eye and was always game for a joke or two.
His other love in those early days was tinkering in car engines. He eventually turned this interest into a full time job and was one of the most sought after mechanics at the Coast. His fame as a mechanic followed him to Sydney Australia when he migrated there. There used to be a regular queue of friends waiting to have their cars fixed outside Effie’s home in Sydney’s West, Toongabbie.
His favourite car in Mombasa was an old Morris.

His famous cousin Seraphino Antao used to play football with Effie and others. On one occasion, Effie asked Seraphino if he would like to take part in an East African Railways & Harbours athletics meeting in 1956. Seraphino worked for the Landing and Shipping company which had some association with the Harbour activities. Effie took part in Shot Put.
Seraphino ran barefoot and did well. This was the start of his athletic career so a lot of credit to Effie.
Also, apart from football,  Effie was a hockey player, a captain of Mombasa Goan School ex-students team.

He also enjoyed a game of snooker at the Blacktown Workers Club or at his “local” the Toongabbie Sport and Bowling Club where his wake will be held after the burial on Friday, October 13.


Mass Friday 13 October 2017 at 11.00 am
St.Anthony's Church
27-33 Aurelia Street
Toongabbie NSW 2146
Australia

Followed by

Burial Friday 13 October 2017
Pine Grove Memorial Park
Kington Street
Garden of Calvary
7, Minchinbury NSW.

Effie was pre-deceased by his wife Linda. He is survived by his daughter Evelyn (Graham Irving) and grandchildren Charlotte and James, by his sister Philo (Rex D’Souza) brother Elvino (Elisa)  and several nephews and nieces.

Condolences to Evelyn Irving evvve@hotmail.com




Just pals … Pascoal Antao, Eddie Rodrigues, Seraphino Antao, Diogo Pinto, Effie Antao

The late Effie Antao had a great love of motor cars, so much so that he became a motor mechanic. In Sydney Australia his favourite car was the mighty Kingswood.
Just pals … Pascoal Antao, Eddie Rodrigues, Seraphino Antao, Diogo Pinto, Effie Antao

Salcete village team: On the ground: Gonzac Fernandes, Martin Gonsalves
Second row: Jack Fernandes, Effie Antao, Bernard D’Souza, Joe Gonsalves, Joe D’Costa

Standing: Rui Mergulaun, Seraphino Antao,  (?) (?) Pascoal Antao

Martin Gonsalves who lived in Sweden also died on the same day as his friend Effie