April 26, 2018
Wilfred Gerald Rebimbus was a legendary Konkani singer and lyricist. He was fondly called “Konkan Kogul,” which translates as “the nightingale of Konkani.” He was called lovingly as Wilfy by his fans. Till date, he remains one of the most loved and best Konkani singers. He was Mangalore’s musical legend.
Wilfy was born in the city of Mangalore on April 2, 1942. His mother and father hailed from Kanhangad in Kerala. Wilfy completed his schooling from Milagres High School in the city of Mangalore, following which he did a course in Mechanics before eventually joining St Joseph’s Workshop as a young apprentice. He was a gifted singer right since his childhood days, having won several prizes at singing competitions.
In the year 1956, at the age of 14, he began composing Konkani songs as well as singing them. In the year 1957, he wrote his debut drama entitled “Poishanso Sounsar” or “The World of Money.” The play was staged through St Joseph’s Natak Sangh, following which he completed six plays.
Wilfy staged his first “Wilfy Nite” in 1970 for a duration of 3 hours. Since 1970, the total number of Wilfy Nites that have been staged stands at a majestic 215. Add to this approximately 500 musical shows of a duration of one hour. The total number of songs composed by Wilfy stands at a staggering 2,500, which is pure genius. He has held performances in Mangalore and other Konkani-speaking regions, Goa, Mumbai, Mysore, Bangalore, as well as in Middle East countries and cities, including Dubai, Muscat, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Kuwait, and so on.
Wilfy’s contribution to the world of music, stage, and literature is like an open book. A young child, too, is aware of his massive contribution. The most significant aspect about his work is the awareness he created globally for the Konkani language. In 1959, he founded a musical group called United Youngsters Music Party at the tender age of 17. It is presently known as United Youngsters Cultural Association.
Wilfy’s songs are commonly played at Goan and Mangalorean weddings. His wife, too, is a prolific singer. They have even composed several duet albums. His humble personality prodded the organisers to invite him back, again and again.
He had his own unique way of encouraging young talent who sought his help. He never denied a single youngster. Besides singing, his other hobbies included reading, writing stories, watching films, and many more. Several of his biggest fans have a huge collection of his albums.
Till this day, each year his team hosts a wonderful singing night as a tribute to him. His life was like a song. Mangalore and the entire Konkani community will always miss this legendary musician.