Our beautiful state of Goa is renowned for its musicality and many have made their mark around the world. None, however, have done more internationally for a particular genre of music as Sonia Shirsat has for fado.
Her connection with fado probably began before she was born, with her grandmother who would listen attentively to the soulful, melancholic melodies on the radio and scribble down the lyrics. But the first one she sang was by accident, at a guitar workshop by Portuguese musician Antonio Chainho in 2003. In just five years, she had grown so much in the genre that she performed her first ever solo concert in Portugal.
Since then she has performed around India and the world, including Goa, Daman, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Luxembourg, Macau, Kuwait, France, Singapore, Hawaii, Nepal, Canada, London, Dubai, Muscat, Lisbon and Qatar.
Her versatility, range and passion have attracted the attention of fado greats and she has performed alongside South Africa’s Katia Guerreiro, and Portugal’s Maria Ana Bobone, Raquel Tavares, Rao Kyao, Carlos do Carmo, Argentina Santos, Miguel Capucho, RIcardo Rocha and Antonio Chainho.
Television channels in Portugal have been enamoured by her talent and stage presence, and aired many of her performances. In 2010, Sonia Shirsat went a step further and released her debut album in this genre called Saudades De Fado.
But it is not just fado that she is good at. Sonia Shirsat also sings Konkani, Hindi and English songs, and has explored western classical music, Bollywood pop, and even folk songs for Goa’s peculiar type of musical theatre – the tiatr.
In addition, she is a lecturer of law with a masters degree in the subject and a prize-winning orator.
You can catch Goa’s queen of fado, Sonia Shirsat, at the beautifully hosted Noite de Fado at Cidade de Goa’s Alfama – The Chef’s Specialty Restaurant – this month on July 04, 2017.