, ,

Musicking Destination: Instituto Camões, New Delhi!

Happy to have been invited to perform a set of Portuguese songs at Instituto Camões, Embassy of Portugal, New Delhi on the 18th of July 2012. Couldn’t miss this great opportunity which, turned out to be an important milestone in my journey and more importantly, in my mission of popularizing Portuguese Pop/Folk music.

I live in Daman (Damão – a former Portuguese enclave on the western shores of India, which became part of India as recently as 1961) where there’s a strong Portuguese influence in the culture, music in particular. While Daman Day (2nd February), Daman’s biggest folk festival, celebrates and showcases its Indo-Portuguese culture, my blogs and websites help in recording, preserving and even propagating it to a certain extent.

As an award-winning writer of the Writers Bureau (UK) and author of Culture Wise India (Survival Books Ltd, UK), I’m now putting this experience into writing a series of books on the Indo Portuguese culture of Daman and in writing/recording new folk songs to complement the books.

It was a solo performance at Instituto Camões in my ‘Unplugged’ avatar – just me and my Ovation guitar and a digital vocal harmonizer – the others being, ‘Concert’ (Midi guitar OMB) and ‘Grand Concert’ (Arranger keyboard OMB). The songs were covers of contemporary Portuguese songs in the Pop & Romantic genres with a couple of traditional folk songs thrown into the mix as well. That’s about all you’d expect from someone who’s an HR Pro by day, author by night and singer/songwriter on very special evenings, like this one.

I’ll let these photographs (courtesy, Bhupendra Baria) tell the rest of the story…

Arrival at Camoes…
Tuning up
Must get the G-string right!
The Ovation is a great guitar – when I opened the case at the venue, every string was still perfectly in tune! And no – I wasn’t scowling… I’d rather squint than wear reading glasses – especially when fiddling with the G-string;)
More treble on the vocals, please!
For Guitar, my quick-fix is Bass @ 4 ‘O’ Clock; Treble @ 2 ‘O’ Clock
The audience couldn’t really know what to expect from a nonfiction author!
A few seconds in the dark before the ‘curtain’ went up!
The first song… about how good it feels to go back to my roots
Threw two trads into the mix – Encosta a tua Cabecinha – arguably, the most popular Portuguese trad in India.  One of the first songs my mother taught me as a little boy.
Interestingly, it’s from Brazil!
Followed by A historia que eu vou contar – I’d need to write a voluminous book to tell the story of a complicated woman. Not that I would succeed though. The songwriter tried to tell it all in just one verse!
Now, they know… a little bit more… as I tell the stories behind the songs
11th reason to learn the Portuguese language: You will better appreciate the songs when you understand what’s really being said between the lines of the underlying lyrics and like me, you may discover that “Saudades” is the God particle of the Lusophone world!
A change of rhythm and tempo – little snippets of the Pimba that’s played for the wedding march in Daman
Couldn’t leave without singing um ultimo fado
I’ve often been accused of singing only contemporary Portuguese songs; very few trads and never a fado – so I sang a song about the fado:)

Adeus ate um dia!
The Damanense – as also the Portuguese – goodbye is not really final… it’s always followed by an ‘ate logo!’


With H. E., the Ambassador of Portugal, Jorge Roza de Oliveira
I presented him a copy of my book, “Culture Wise INDIA” (Survival Books – UK) and made a commitment that I’d complete writing my second book, “DISCOVER DAMÃO IN DAMAN – The Insider’s Guide to the Indo-Portuguese Culture, Customs & Etiquette of Daman”
The ambassador said he’d be visiting Daman very soon!
A final caress of appreciation for my Ovation before she goes into her case
I couldn’t decide whether to take the Ovation or the Taylor 714ce Fall Ltd Edition. My friends on Facebook voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Ovation! Isn’t she ‘photogenic’? I strung her with Silk & Steel strings and played her with my fingers to get that clunky sound between a steel-string and a nylon-string guitar

High tea – Embassy lawns
Met faculty, students and the warm and cheerful staff. Many said they’d like to visit my hometown. Well, all were invited – for Daman Day 2013 (2nd February, 2013)


3 replies
  1. A.R.Costa
    A.R.Costa says:

    Noel: muitos parabéns pelo sucesso da tua apresentação musical no Instituto Camões em Nova Delhi. Foi um justo e merecido prémio para a forma persistente e coerente como tens defendido a especificidade da cultura damanense e, também, a herança cultural portuguesa em Damão. Naturalmente, espero que outras oportunidades surjam.
    Adelino Costa, Lisboa

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Muitos Parabéns por mais esta vitória na divulgação de Damão em Delhi junto das autoridades portuguesas!

    Graças ao trabalho de Noel Gama Damão tem sido cada vez mais reconhecido no exterior e a sua música e cultura cada vez mais populares.

    Muitos Parabéns e continue o excelente trabalho que tem vindo a desenvolver para a valorização de Damão e da sua cultura em toda a Índia e em Portugal!

    Cristina Almeida

  3. Noel Gama
    Noel Gama says:

    Thank you for the kind and encouraging words and all the support. Trust the final phase of your PhD thesis on Damanense music is going smoothly for you – can’t wait to see it published!

    Best wishes,



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.