It was an awesome experience for the Konkani diaspora residing in Canada when Eric Ozario, the Advisor and Louis Pinto, President Mandd Sobhann extended Vovllik (invitation) for the First World Konkani Cultural Convention in a traditional style by offering paan, pod ani udaak (betel leaves, areca-nuts and water). The curtain raiser was the first of its kind in North America was held during the grand Monti Fest celebration organized by the Mangalorean Association of Canada (MAC) in association with Canara World Foundation (CWF) at Pope John Paul II hall in Mississauga, Canada on 22nd September.
The First World-level Konkani Cultural Convention, 25 day extravaganza, will be held at Mangalore from 25th November to 19th December to mark the Silver Jubilee of Konkani’s premier cultural organization Mandd Sobhann, that has made all Konkani speaking people proud by placing the language on the world map by their remarkable and record-breaking feat of organising the Konkani Nirantari program to enter the Guinness Book of World Records with its 40-hour-long non-stop multi-singers music program.
The Vovllk program started with a traditional welcome by MAC President Maxim D’Mello and CWF president Max Mendes. The special guests Eric and Louis who flew to Canada from Mangalore, were welcomed to the dais and were greeted with flower bouquets amidst the rolling applause of the audience. On behalf of the Konkani Community in Canada they were honoured with the traditional shawl. Fr Edwin D’Souza, the spiritual director of Konkani community in Canada and an ardent supporter of Konkani language, was the chief guest.
Mandd Sobhann founder and present Advisor Eric Ozario, the former president of Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, highlighted the importance of the convention in his key address and said that Konkani is a rich language and its preservation should be of top priority. He narrated the greatness of Konkani, spoken by people cutting across barriers of state, region, religion, caste and creed in India and even abroad. He gave a synopsis of Mandd Sobhann and its contribution for the development, promotion and protection of Konkani culture, language, music and theatre for the last quarter century and added that the first world convention will comprise of programs from over 60 groups/troupes from all over the world involving over 1,000 artistes with music, folk, theatre and dance.
In addition, a Konkani film festival, food festival, youth festival, art festival, kavita fest, games, competitions and bazaar will be organized along with the second global Konkani music award presentation. The sixth Carvalho Gharaanne-Thomas Stephen’s Konkani Kendr Kalakaar Puraskaar will also be presented. Seminars on various aspects of Konkani culture and felicitation/honouring of 25 institutions/individuals from all around the world for their contribution to enriching the Konkani culture is a part of the 25-day celebration, Ozario said.
There was a thunderous applause from the audience when Eric announced that one day will be dedicated to Canada where Konkani people from Canada will have a unique opportunity to exhibit their Konkani talents on the soil of their birth. He urged all the Konkani people of North America to show utmost generosity and support morally and financially to this unique high-budgeted historical Konkani event.
The hall packed audience were enthralled when Eric presented his own foot-tapping compositions together with talented local artistes like Merlyn Rodrigues, Anita Prabhu, Sonia Monteiro and Manohar Pais.