Wilfred Gerald Rebimbus was a Konkani singer and lyricist. He was known as Konkan Kogul (“the nightingale of Konkani”). He was lovingly called as Wilfy by all his fans. He was one of the best and most loved singers. He was a musical legend of Mangalore. Most of us don’t know this amazing personality and therefore I would love to write about this fantastico person in this post.
Wilfy was born in Mangalore on 2nd April 1942. Both his parents hail from Kanhangad in Kerala. Wilfy had his primary and high school education at Milagres High School in Mangalore. Later, he did a mechanical course before joining St Joseph’s Workshop as an apprentice. He was a talented singer right since his student days. He won numerous prizes in various singing events.
In 1956, at the age of 14, started Composing Konkani songs and sang it. In 1957, at the age of 15, wrote his first drama – “Poishanso Sounsar” (World of Money) and staged it through St. Joseph’s Natak Sangh. After that he has written 6 Plays.
Mr. Rebimbus staged his first Wilfy Nite in 1970 for 3 hours duration. Since 1970 till date nearly 215 Wilfy Nites have been staged and also, nearly 500 musical shows of one hour duration. Total number of songs composed exceeds 2, 500. He has performed in Mangalore and most of the places in Konakan area, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Mysore, Delhi, and also in the Middle East – Muscat, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait and Doha Qatar and many other countries.
Wilfy’s contribution to the world of music, literature and stage is an open book. A small child too is aware of his immense contribution. But what’s significant about his contribution is that the awareness of Konkani language that he created worldwide, especially among Konkani speaking community, through his works. He founded the musical group called United Youngsters Music Party in 1959 when he was just 17. It is now known as United Youngsters Cultural Association.
His songs are very commonly used in Catholic (Goan and Mangalorean) weddings. He and his wife, both are amazing singers. They even have countless duet albums. He travelled across gulf many a time along with his troupe and mesmerized the crowd wherever he went. His humble nature encouraged the organizers to bring him back again and again.
He had a special way to encourage the young talent, who sought help from him without ever denying them. There are several new composers today, who have brought out their own albums, but have not forgotten to give due credit to him. Other than singing, Mr. Rebimbus’s favorite hobbies were writing stories, reading, watching nice movies, etc. My mother is one of his biggest fans. She has a collection of all his albums.
His career was soaring heights and that’s when he came to know that he was suffering from cancer. Never the less, he continued his wonderful musical journey. He kept his disease a secret for a long long time. Wilfy was diagnosed to be suffering from lung cancer and underwent a surgery in September 2009. He died of complications from lung cancer on 9 March 2010. His death left all his fans in a state of shock. It was a very huge loss for the Mangalorean community. Till this day, every year his team hosts a singing night to pay him a tribute.
His life was just like a song. Till his last breath he loved singing. We miss this amazing legendary musician. May his soul rest in peace.
(Some personal details in this post are taken from an interview taken by Mangalorean.com)