Noël Gama directs HR and Corporate Communications by day but come sundown, he goes back to his first love – portuguese music! He’s been playing in various bands since his teens, the guitar being his primary instrument though in the 90s he swapped it for the keyboard to form his One-Man Band. He’s played in all sorts of places and spaces but he says the most memorable event was a gig in the Dudhwa Forest region!
Of Portuguese descent, Noël lives in Daman (Damão), a former Portuguese enclave on the western shores of India, which became part of India as recently as 1961. Hence, there is a strong Portuguese influence in its culture. It is in this unique multiracial, multicultural and multilingual environment that he grew up in. It is therefore not surprising that he sings mostly in Portuguese.
He spends his leisure hours in his colonial villa in a 16th century fort, writing folk songs and historical romance novels set in the Indo Portuguese era. “My mission is to popularize Portuguese music in the pop/folk genre in India through the power of the Internet and my solo shows,” he says.
Viva Damão is his one-man band, an exclusively Portuguese music one-man act that sees him using either an intelligent arranger keyboard or midi-fitted electro-acoustic guitars and intelligent accompaniment modules. Portuguese Pop/Folk songs being harmony-laden, he plugs his mic into the Digitech Live 4, which faithfully follows his guitar chords to generate chordal harmonies that perfectly match his rather high vocal pitch, and at the same time preserves his one-man band status.
When asked about the two dots on the ‘ë’ in Noël Gama, he says, “Oh! They’re just subtle identity markers I use to let my audience or readers know that I’m a guy every time they hear or read my ‘voice’ – not that it really matters,” he laughs.