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Goan Musician abroad bags Vibhushan Award

Thursday, December 16, 2021
Goan Musician abroad bags Vibhushan Award

Kuwait-based musician Shahu Almeida, popularly known as Maestro Shahu, was conferred with a distinguished Tiatr Vibhushan Award at the 2nd International Tiatr Convention held in Goa on 15th December 2021.

The Maestro was among the chosen few awarded this year by Goa’s Kala Niketan in celebration of the 150th birth anniversary of Pai Tiatrist Joao Agostinho Fernandes, founder of the Konkani Tiatr in 1892.

Others awarded by a superstar Kala Niketan committee comprising of President Roseferns, Prince Jacob and Secretary Michael Gracias included:

Tiatr Ratna Award

Fr. Ave Maria Afonso, Superintendent of Police Sammy Tavares and Agnelo Alcasoas

Tiatr Bhushan Award

Rev Dr. Richard Rodrigues, Suman Kurade, Tony Martin and Evaristo D’Souza

Tiatr Vibhushan Award

Shahu Almeida, Chris-Armand Presentation, and Goan Welfare Association (Doha-Qatar).

Shahu is the only overseas, decorated individual to bag this award from Kuwait, and Goans in the oil-rich country have extended warm greetings to the Maestro on his great achievement.

Eminent novelist and Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo, a Jnanpith Award Winner (India's highest literary honor) presented the award to Shahu.

About The Maestro

Among the current big names of Goan musicians, the name of Francis Almeida, popularly known as Maestro Shahu shines bright with the stellar bracket of Goa's top-notch musicians for his indispensable contribution to the art of music.

Hailing from Macasana - Goa, Shahu has been residing in Kuwait since 1999. He remains one of the most popular Goan musicians outside of Goa.

With his penchant and passion for innovative, brilliant music, Shahu continues to do his best – hypnotize his listeners to a magical sway.

Shahu can be aptly described as a consummate musician with an alluring passion and drive for music.

Undoubtedly his heart pumps ‘musical beats’, for when it comes to music, he is simply untiring, endowed with an amazing genius of a prodigious memory for music.

Shahu has his own YouTube Channel where he has a variety of songs from different singers with music provided by him. He also caters music to Goan singers all across the globe.

Shahu Almeida – Early Years

Shahu may be recognized more in the genre of dramas. But behind his simplicity is the unmistakable halo of his talent as a star musician of Goan pop-bands years back.

“Playing dance and party music is much simpler for me,” reveals Shahu, “Unlike dramas where I have to play complex tunes, playing pop and party music is simple for me as it demands minimum efforts because I know what exactly I am going to play.”

A dynamic talent with his keyboard, Shahu began his tryst with music as a drummer, drumming his way into the hearts of his schoolmates at his school's annual gatherings, propelling him into the musical horizon forever.

Shahu is an alumnus of St. Francis Xavier High School, Macasana, and Guardian Angel College, Sanvordem.

Evolving into an ace drummer, he had the rare and splendid opportunity of honing his musical skills under the baton of Chris Perry, the eternal icon and consummate genius of Goan music and playing alongside his son Errol Perry.

Playing Drums For Goan Beat-Groups

With music flowing in his veins, Shahu’s drumbeats reverberated in many well-known Goan bands of the nineties such as 'Ultimate', 'Magic Touch', 'The News', 'Human Status', 'Black Lace', etc, to name a few.

Speaking on his experience and performances, Shahu says, "I used to enjoy playing at the Rock Greenal annual musical show at Curtorim."

Shahu is on record to have played in over 1000 weddings as a drummer with these groups, apart from numerous beat shows and other events.

But it was his evolution into a keyboardist that shot him into instant fame.

Interestingly, Shahu switched over to the keyboards not on his own accord but at the suggestion of Fr. Livio D'Mello under whose cudgel he played for the choir at St. Francis Xavier's Church, Macasana.

From then on there was no looking back.

The Journey So Far

Shahu has come a long way with his association with music now spanning over 3 decades. His musical creativity was elevated further after his arrival in Kuwait in October 1999.

The magical maestro began with a bang in legend-director Jose Rod's hit drama 'Tujem Nanv Vhodd Zaum' which was staged all over the Middle East Gulf, and Goa.

So far, Shahu has played in UK, Cayman Islands, Muscat, Doha, Bahrain, Dubai, Bangalore, Darjeeling, etc.

Shahu has also done a short musical stint playing live music at Dubai's famous Viva Goa restaurant in the year 2000.

The ever-energetic musician has performed in numerous tiatrs and non-stop dramas for top directors such as Prem Kumar, Roseferns, Jacob, Philip Almeida, Menino de Bandar, late Comedian Peter D’Costa, Pascoal Rodrigues, C.D. Silva, John D' Silva, Ben Evangelisto, Rosario Rodrigues, Comedian Sally, Mariano Fernandes, Lawry Travasso, Patrick Dourado, late Cajie de Curtorim, etc, apart from all the directors in Kuwait.

Playing For The Shakespeare Of Konkani Stage

Shahu reached the high point of his career when he was roped in as a music composer by the doyen of Konkani stage, the legendary Rosario Rodrigues.

Shahu’s captivating rhythm set aflame many of Rosario Rodrigues’ unforgettable hit dramas like 'Hanv Kallukant Sandlim', ‘Soglech Kantte Nhoim’, and ‘Hea Ghorak Nanv Dovorlem’, where Shahu pioneered the unique concept of providing the entire spectrum of music on keyboards without the brass band.

Under the ace director's able tutelage, Shahu had a free rein toying with refreshing, innovative ideas which enabled him to break new grounds by pushing into the frontiers of Goan music.

With the sky as the limit, Shahu went on to produce innumerable chart-busting scores for numerous hit dramas and musicals which gained him the popularity of a household name.

Musical Challenges On His Way

So far, Shahu has not come across any hurdles in playing music.

One of his most challenging performances was a one-man stint in Mini Mario's 'Kiteak Ho Bazar Cholta?' staged in Kuwait in April 2007.

"I had to pick-up the notes on the troupe's arrival in Kuwait on the morning of the show and I can proudly say that I played to perfection with just a few rehearsals," said Shahu, further adding, "with musical notes handy, I can play non-stop music for over 8 hours.”

Latest Show Directed By Shahu

In October 2021, Shahu directed and premiered ‘IXTTA UGDDAS TUZO’ on YouTube, a musical tribute to Shahu’s father-in-law late Cajetan de Sanvordem, a celebrated actor & singer well-known as the ‘Thespian of Konkani Stage’.

Past Directional Ventures

While Shahu has played for most of the shows held in Kuwait, his own popular shows staged in Kuwait and other parts of the Gulf and UK are as follows:

2011 – Tiatrist

2013 – Goencho Rakhonddar

2016 – Tiatristponn Devachem Dennem

2017 – Tumkanch Lagon Ami

2018 – Konknni Machiechi Seva

2019 – Ugddas Dovrun Ghele

Personal Life

Music apart, Shahu is an intensely charming and adorable human who attaches great value to friendships and family.

He is a devoted husband blessed with a wonderful wife, a doting father blessed with a cherubic son named Aerosmith who has picked up from in his father’s footsteps and plays the drums with ease, and a daughter Acacia who has just started singing and playing the keyboard.

In his last musical show premiered on YouTube; the whole family of Maestro Shahu was involved – Shahu on keyboards, his son on drums, his wife Clemmie Almeida, and 13-year daughter Acacia engaged in singing.

Shahu has also offered his services to the Kuwait church choir time and time.

Shahu continues to add increasing complexity and refinement to his astounding gift of music which is sure to hold the audience in a thrill for years to come!

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