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The Goan Nightingale

by Fr. Nascimento Mascarenhas

Lorna Lui Cordeiro, whose roots are in Tabravaddo, Saligao, can truly be called the Goan Nightingale. She is a household name for music-loving Goans in Goa, Mumbai and other parts of the world as well, and has had a huge fan following since she first performed in Calcutta way back in the 1960s.

In an interview with Ervell E Menezes published in The Navhind Times, Lorna acknowledges that the person behind her early success – in the mid-60s up until 1973 – was the late Goan musician Chris Perry. “It was Chris Perry who made me… in the beginning I didn’t even know how to stand on the stage – his was the first and the last band I ever sang for,” she states in the interview. “I miss his arrangements, his compositions; till today I do his songs.”

Back in the sixties, Lorna first took Calcutta by storm. “I kept the audiences entranced-those were the days!” says Lorna nostalgically in the interview.

A self-imposed silence, bereft of any public performance, lasted for over 20 years. Then Lorna was persuaded by musician Ronnie Monsorrate to get back to the stage, and her scintillating performance at Miramar beach in 1995 was a huge success. She did a few duets with Sigmund de Souza, and the vast crowd went wild, hollering for all the old favourites.

Subsequently, Lorna has performed several times, in Goa and all over the world, but she continues to do studio recordings in Mumbai. She often remarks that the beat groups that accompany her these days are no match for Chris Perry’s 25-piece band that she used to perform with in the earlier era.

Lorna Cordeiro began singing when she was 15, just out from the Little Flower of Jesus High School in Mumbai’s Sonapur locality. The Cordeiro family invariably spent the summer vacations at their ancestral home in Saligao. Theirs was a musical family, and every day the children along with their parents Teofilo and Cecilia would sing beautiful songs, much to the delight of all those living in the neighbourhood.

In May 1993, at the 150th anniversary celebrations of St Anne’s Chapel there was a singing competition for children and youth of the village. Lorna was one of the judges for the competition. After she evaluated each singer and distributed the prizes as chief guest, she sang a few of her old songs, accompanied by a local band.

Konn go bai tem itlem borem kantar korta?” asked an old lady of 80. “Tem amchem Lorna, Bullu Mauxe, Salu Cordeiro-hachi nat, Teofilochi dhuv,” replied another old-timer, sitting next to her.

Lorna’s all-time favourite Konkani songs include Bebddo, Pisso, Sorga Rajent, Lisboa, Saudichem Kantar, and Calangute. Though her voice is mezzo-soprano, she has a wide range. She sang with Mohammed Rafi in Bom Jezuchea Conventant. In Goenchem Ambot Tik, Emiliano da Cruz composed the music for the songs Rautam Tuka, Kainngam, Hanv re maka tum re tuka, Dev Borem Korum sung by Lorna. She has of course released many albums over the years and continues to do so. Ardent fans all over the world look forward to being regaled by the Nightingale of Goa for many more years to come. Carry on Lorna!

4 comments on The Goan nightingale

  • [...] and the source of inspiration for the famous song “Calangute” sung by our nightingale Lorna Lui Cordeiro, reminding us how the Creator kept us enthralled through the scenic beauty of nature, manifest in [...]

  • victor and Julie Affonso

    We sponsor a musician’s nite and this year it will be in Ria on the 15th of April. If you are in contact with Lorna please invite her to join some of the top Goan muicians as they jam together just for the fun and to honor our precious musicians which Goa is proud of. Since the movie it is time for her to come back to Goa and be appreciated for who she is. thanks

  • Antonio Baptista

    Lorna is one of the best singer I ever heard in
    Konkani singing.

  • ARUP BHANJA

    Just discovered her when searching for Konkani music. She is fabulous! God Bless her! We need to hear more from her!

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