Behind every successful man, there is a woman, and behind every successful woman, there is a man! Comparing to men, there are very few female singers who are famous in Mangalore and for that matter throughout India. There is only one who has been singing for the past 42 years in the same group and has been a talk of the town in Konkani music in every Mangalorean household worldwide. She is warm, very simple, extremely down to earth, always smiling. She is none other than our well known "Konkan Myna", "Konkani Podanchi Rani" - Meena Gratia Rebimbus.
From a very small age Meena had an excellent talent for Singing. In her early days, she used to sing Hindi numbers and as the days passed by; people recognized her singing talent and gave her an opportunity to sing for the Konkani & Tulu Plays, which were staged in the neighborhood.
In the Sixties Meena took part in various categories including solo, duet, and group in the inter parish singing competitions, which were organized by Konkani Natak Sabha Mangalore, and had won many prizes for her Parish. Jeppu parish had won many trophies, mostly were first place. However, the Silver Jubilee year of the Konkani Natak Sabha, Meena won first place for the song – “Nehrucho Ugdas’. Also, Meena together with Wilfy, won first places in Duet and Group in both male and female categories. Hence Jeppu Parish won the permanent Trophy with 33 points while the parish which got 2nd place secured only 11 points. This was before the introduction of Wifly Nites.
In 1963, for the first time, she got an opportunity to sing with Wilfy Rebimbus for his Music Party “United Youngsters”. This was on the occasion of his Konkani Play “Doth Maka Naka”. It was the beginning of her singing with Wilfy, and since then she has been the back bone of Wilfy Nites for 42 years.
In the early days, it was not common for girls to perform on stage. Even if the girls were talented, their elders would strongly oppose them; giving a reason that later they would have to face problems in getting a good proposal.
In 1963, when Wilfy was in search of a female singer for his group, he approached Meena’s elders, and with great difficulty she used to get permission. This was only because her aunt knew Wilfy’s Parents. She was always accompanied by her mom or aunt if the program were outside their parish.
In 1966, there was a Big Show coming up in Bombay and Meena’s aunt refused to give her permission to participate in this show. Wilfy took this opportunity and satisfied his heart desire by extending his hand to marry Meena. It was a double joy for Meena to attend and participate in the show in Bombay and marry a person who gave a boost to her singing and nurtured her talents very much.
Finally, on January 25, 1970, Wilfy and Meena were united in the sacrament of Matrimony. They are blessed with two Children Veena (1971) & Vishwas (1978). Both of them have given their stage performances at a very small age. Veena’s song ‘Muji Mummy’ has been recorded by the HMV when she was 5 years old. Vishwas' first song is “Chandamama” and his first recorded song is – “Mog Zaina Matharo.” Ever since then they have been performing in almost all of the Wilfy Nites.
Veena is married to Arthur Pais, they are settled in Doha Qatar with 2 children Arvin and Anna. Vishwas was working in Kuwait for few years; recently he has come down to Mangalore and is pursuing his MBA studies. His desire is to stay with his parents and carry on singing. From 1963 to 1970, Meena has performed in all musical plays whether they were songs connected to the play or outside songs, she sang solos & duets with Wilfy Rebimbus.
Meena is the one and only daughter of Late Baptist Pinto and Late Mary Pinto of St. Joseph Nagar, Jeppu, born on November 21, 1946. Her birth name is Mural Gatia Pinto and was lovingly called as Meena at home. Later on her husband, “Konkan Kogul”, Mr. Wilfy Rebimbus, permanently changed her name to Meena in all records.
Her father was a popular singer & also a well-known Guitarist. He used to tutor people with his guitar skills. He has also composed many songs to his credit. He played an active role during the Second World War. When Meena was just 9 years old, he was called to serve in the country and never returned. Her Aunt Mrs. Lucy Rosario, who was the elder sister of her mom, gave helping hand in raising Meena.
Then, began the Era of “Wilfy Nites” from 1971, and so far she has performed in all 231 Nites. These nites covered all the places in and around Dakshina Kannada, Honnavar, Shirshi, Karwar, Goa, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore and Delhi. In the Middle East - Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Muscat, Kuwait and the latest performance in Canada.
She has also composed many songs. To name a few popular ones -“Nach tuka eatha ter nach Moga “ “Ya Sounsaranth”, and “Asha ”. Delhi & Bangalore Doordarshan & Akashavani Mangalore has telecasted her performance.
Meena is a very devoted person and attends the first mass at 5.45 am and leads the choir in Jeppu parish daily, except during out of town shows. This has become a routine for her she says. Her melodious voice truly adds a zing in the choir. Whatever we have achieved is only because of God's blessings on our family. HE has always protected and blessed us in every way she says. Meena has strong faith in St. Joseph the patron of Jeppu parish. Every program Meena and Wilfy begin in the name of Jesus through St. Joseph. Meena says that it's their duty to praise and thank Him for his blessings showered upon them. So, whenever she's in Mangalore, without fail she attends the first mass and praises God. Meena is an active member of Jeppu Choir for the past 30 years. She also loves cooking and gardening.
Meena shares with Mangalorean.com, one of her memorable childhood memories – She was only 15 years old when she started singing with Wilfy Rebimbus, during that time most of the composers where using popular Hindi tunes for their Konkani songs. However, Wilfy had started a new trend of composing songs using his own tunes. Meena was very fond of Hindi movies, especially the songs. She would watch the movies for the sake of learning the songs and then sing them for any occasion, this was her hobby.
Wilfy had composed some new songs for a play and one of the songs was 'Vrindavananth sugandh ubtha thand vare valthana'. This was a duet and Meena was called for the practice. After Wilfy trained her, she asked a common friend to find out from Wilfy about the movie from which he had taken the tune so that she could watch that movie and also learn the original version of the song. When Wilfy heard this he got very furious as it was his original tune and Meena thought this was a copy from one of the Hindi song. He shouted at her and then Meena never dared ask him anything.
For her contribution towards Konkani Music, she has been felicitated with the following titles:
1984 - “Konkan Myna” From Benar Production & also a Gold Medal
1996 - “Konkanni Podanchi Rani “ From Broad View , Kala Sampath Lions Club Illinois.
1999 - “Shatamananthli Adarsh Potin ” from Chintpachi Manchi Kuwait
1999 - “Life time Achievement Award” from MCC, Association Doha Qatar
2003 - Felicitated by Kuwait Farwania Friends Circle.
From 17 years of age till date, Meena has sang more than 2000 songs, performed in 231 Wilfy Nites, sang as a background singer for more than 300 plays, and sang for Wilfy’s 37 Cassettes & 6 Devotional Cassettes.
Meena's songs are selected for the 3 Discs produced By HMV, and have been telecasted in Bangalore and Delhi Doordarshan, as well as auditioned artist of Akashvani Mangalore.
She also sang for the following films:
1977 - Mog ani Moipas
1988 - Kazara Upranth
1986 - Bogsane
2005 - Padri
Also archived http://www.konkaniworld.com/eminents/index.asp?cat=SG