Remo Fernandes was in Mumbai last night for the Poggenpohl event, crooning for a private audience. Performing solo on an acoustic guitar, he sang old Portuguese and Goan tracks. “I sang songs close to my heart that the regular rock audience don't appreciate. I also improvised with the tabla,” says Remo. So did the audience get to hear the Goan vibe evident in his earlier songs or was something amiss again? “This question has become so stale. Everyone knows that Goa has gone to the dogs.”
Remo was in the news recently for the song, India Against Corruption… in support of anti-graft activist Anna Hazare. The song was released on YouTube. Has he had a brush with corruption too? "“Is it possible to live in India and not have to deal with corruption every other day?”
Remo rose to fame with title track of Jalwa (1987), later churning out hits like Humma humma… (Bombay, 1995) and Pyar Toh Hona Hi Tha... (1998). So why haven't we heard him in a film recently? “Why do people keep asking me about Bollywood? Why don't they ask me about the non-Bollywood music I’m making and was released in the US and Europe? Is Bollywood the only thing that the media know about in India? I have sung for enough Hindi films. Filmmakers often approach me to give playback singing but I'm not interested any longer. But I'd like to compose the score for a good offbeat film some day.”
He has just turned music director for a Goan film and says the Goan film scene has grown in leaps and bounds since the venue for the annual International Film Fesatival of India (IFFI) was shifted there. “Local films are winning awards at Toronto and other prestigious film festovals. My soundtrack is a huge hit and has broken all previous records," he smiles.
Remo has been spearheading the annual Siolim Zagor festival, celebrated by Catholics and Hindus in his village. “The festival's contribution in terms of communal harmony is immeasurable.” he asserts.
Besides recording a new album, Remo is also digitising his old albums. He’s upgrading his recording and video studio and travelling around the country and abroad on concert tours. He smiles, “I’ve plenty to keep me busy!”