April 26, 2018
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All Goans, both young and old, have, over the years, been enthralled and captivated by the melodious and sublime voice of Lorna, who is more affectionately known as the “Nightingale of Goa.”
Let’s take a sneak peek into a glittering career, her most famous songs, and the legacy that she has left behind.
Lorna was born in Saligao, Goa on August 9, 1944. She belongs to the community of Goan Catholics. Arguably, she was the most dominant Goan singer, especially in the 1970s.
Lorna always enjoyed the support and encouragement of her family members. From the young age of 15, she was an integral member of Chris Perry’s band in English for nine years.
Quintessentially, Lorna was a Jazz singer, who was performing in star hotels and nightclubs of Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, Calcutta, amongst others. Her songs have always become popular owing to her mellifluous voice. A majority of her popular songs have been composed by Chris Perry, and these songs are chartbusters and unforgettable hits.
Some of her biggest hits include Pisso, Bebdo, Red Rose, Tuzo Mog, Calangute, Lisboa, Adeus, Sorgar Rajeant, Noxibak Rodta, to name a few.
As she would take the stage, she would say “I am Lorna” and stretch her arm out, with a humble smile and a characteristic tilt of her head. The effects of her voice were instantaneous at Venice, which is the nightclub at Astoria Hotel: the rounds of applause would grow louder with each song.
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Lorna is also known as the “Bessie Smith” of India. Lorna emerged as the leading jazz-pop star who knew the art of “swinging” it. However, she was not the sole attraction. Chris Perry led the band, and he was one of the best saxophone players of his time.
Lorna and Chris had an electric presence on stage. She would perform jazz standards by Ella Fitzgerald as well as pop tunes by Connie Francis. She would always sway after hitting the right notes and occasionally throwing a glance at the leader of her band after he finished playing, as he went down on his knee with the saxophone raised to the sky. The chemistry between the two was palpable as well as legendary.
Lorna thrived in the 1960s, when Jazz music was at its peak in India. Emerging in Goa during the 1970s, the legend of Lorna and Chris was extremely familiar to Bardroy Barretto. Perry produced numerous Konkani albums with Cordeiro, combining folksy music with distinct jazz elements. Their songs were hugely popular and were played on the radio each afternoon.
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Arguably, Lorna’s most loved and popular Konkani song is Bebdo, which was composed by Chris Perry. The song is about an alcoholic husband who harasses his wife. Nike’s international ad campaign featured a Konkani song called “Rav Patrao Rav,” which was sung by Ella Castellino, based on the song Bebdo as its theme music.
Lorna Cordeiro is a born singer and not “made.” She will go down in history as Goa’s greatest singer of all time.