A man of many talents
A man of many talents
Abdonio Caetano Agnelo Rodrigues popularly known as Abdonio is a famous drummer who made a name for himself playing in various hotels in Mumbai as well as composing various tiatris
When music is family-owned, there can be a creation and mass production of musicians, which contributes to the growth of the music industry.
Abdonio Caetano Agnelo Rodrigues, based in Sanvordem, known as Abdonio in music, is one of the best drummers in Goa. Born July 30, 1936, his father, the late Diogo Rodrigues, was choirmaster (mestri) at the church of Sanvordem. “Famous director Frank Fernandes, who created classic Konkani films like ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Amchem Noxib’, was trained and mentored by Diogo Rodrigues Once Upon a Time,” revealed Abdonio.
“Years ago,” said Abdonio, “there were only two schools in his village, namely the Konkani school and the other run by his father at his residence.” “When the late Father Camilo Xavier came to Sanvordem Church as an assistant,” he continued, “he asked my father to give up teaching at the residence. Instead, perform the same task in the church.
Abdonio’s father agreed and the church school was named “Iscola de Anjguardo”, under the mantle of Diogo Rodrigues. Subsequently, leaving the entire responsibility in the hands of the ‘mestri’, Fr. Camilo Xavier made his way to Rome.
“We are four brothers and sisters in the family,” Abdonio hid. “Johnny, being the eldest in the family,” my father might have taught him the nuances of music. But in my case, it was pure curiosity and the desire to learn that drove me to discover many secrets of music.
Abdonio’s father would perform his band’s practices at the residence. “And whenever the group members got together for rigorous training under my father’s guidance, it was an opportunity for me to carefully observe and learn for myself. So, for me, it was purely self-learning about the drums, ”he said.
When the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus rose in the church of Sanvordem, Abdonio’s father was present with his band. And at the age of 7, Abdonio played the symbol (kansallim) with the rest of the band members, the first step to stardom.
To perfect his knowledge of self-study, Abdonio accompanied his father’s group to weddings across Goa. “Unlike the bands that play for wedding receptions today,” he said, “the bands of yesteryear were purely marching bands, where people would love and enjoy listening to unique pieces performed by the members. all through the night.”
Renowned musician, brother of Abdonio, Johnny has made a name for himself in several hotels in Bombay. His father decides to send him also to his brother, in the hope of pursuing further training in drums, especially in jazz and making a career. In 1959, he landed in Mumbai, but against his will.
Before launching himself as a full-fledged musician, Johnny took Abdonio with him to the ‘La Bela’ hotel, where he was performing. While the former entertained the guests with a performance, the latter enjoyed the presentation.
At the ‘Taj Mahal’ hotel when the drummer fell ill, Abdonio was invited to take over. But his first job as a drummer came to the Juhu hotel, where the contract was signed with contacts from his brother.
In 1965, Abdonio received an offer to perform on a ship. He passed the audition and found an entry into BI Co. Steamers SS Kenya and SS Uganda with the group Joe Martin. He traveled to faraway places like Mombasa, Tanzania, Gibraltar, Lourenco Marquis, Beira, Naples, Barcelona, Cadiz, Durban, London, Sri Lanka, Singapore and others.
After making two trips by boat, Abdonio returned to Bombay and joined the ‘Astoria’ hotel, the Venice restaurant. He served there for three years, before joining the ‘Natraj’ hotel, with a 6-month service contract and performances with Leon D’Souza, a renowned pianist.
Then Abdonio joined the ‘Goodi Seevai’, a Parsi group in Bombay and continued there for almost 5 years. While playing in this band, he had the chance to make trips to Singapore, Ceylon and Malaysia.
After bidding farewell to the group “Goodi Seevai” in Bombay, Abdonio found a 6-month offer in the “Oberoi” hotel in Delhi, followed by a four-month contract in the five-star “Imperial” hotel. Performances in various hotels and different groups have helped him to become a versatile drummer.
In Bombay, Abdonio was the first western drummer to perform for Mumbai Doordarshan, with the best group “Goodi Seevai”. He has also performed in the English opera “My Fair Lady” with Dr. Parvez, in addition to performing for Usha Iyer’s shows and several Konkani musical shows.
Then it was a trip to Bahrain for 6 months, followed by a return to Bombay with performances in various groups. Drum sticks in hand, he admits that he has never been inactive or out of work.
Returning to his roots, Abdonio found an entry to the ‘Fort Aguada’ hotel by signing a 3-year contract with the help of the late Emiliano D’Cruz. His entry into the tiatris occurred when Anthony San introduced him to Prince Jacob and he continued with the troupe for a while.
Abdonio has also performed for known titans like JP Souzalin, Alexinho de Candolim, C Alvares, Jacint Vaz, Remmie Colaco, M Boyer, Prem Kumar, Champion Peter, Alfred Rose, John Claro, Joe Rose and Aristides Dias, in addition to numerous advertising. and amateur directors.
Due to his excellence on drums, Abdonio is recognized today as the ace drummer of Goa. Knowing how to read and write music, it can handle any style of music including 5/4, 7/8, 15/8 tempos.
Abdonio has also contributed to Konkani and Hindi films, namely ‘Amchem Noxib’, ‘Nirmonn’, ‘Mhoji Ghorkarn’ and ‘Tikal’ respectively. His performances can also be noted in HMV records and audio cassettes produced by Alfred Rose, M Boyer, Jerome D’Souza, Lawrence Saldanha, Fr Peter Cardozo, Wilmix-Sharon and others.
In the mid-1950s, Abdonio also wrote, directed and directed the titles “Kitem Amcho Fuddar” and “Durdoxea”. For his immense contribution to music and tiatris, he received the State Cultural Prize, in addition to being honored by various governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Abdonio is not only a quintessential drummer, but also a violinist and trombonist. He categorically states that there is a big difference between a marching band and the marching band that performs today for weddings and other festive occasions. He insists that the rhythms of “marching” and “tango” are a must in a marching band, which is hardly recognizable today.
Abdonio has shared his vast knowledge of drums and music with others and he considers Anthony de Velim the best drummer after him. He also noted that Xavier de Moira has always shown a keen interest in learning different styles of playing the drums and reached greater heights.
As for those interested in playing the drums, “those who play should always be guided and newcomers should always seek advice from their elders,” says Abdonio. “New entrants don’t want to learn and play the original rhythms. Instead, looking for the easy way, most try to modify and play as they see fit, ”he grieves.