Skyhigh and Beyond
Iris C F Gomes
Skyhigh, Goa’s home grown band, has proven just how beloved it is with it endurance through the years. After twenty years of being in the music business, the band is still going strong with most of the bandmates now in their forties. Instead of taking it easy, these passionate music lovers have the aspiration of releasing an album of their original scores.
The band came together when Blasio Pinto, Aurvile Rodrigues, Collins Dias, John Sequeira and Elvis Alves met through mutual friends and discovered their shared affinity towards music. In 2014 John Sequeira left owing to ill health and Anthony Fernandes took his place. Though some of the band members have regular jobs, it does not seem to deter them from coming together for band rehearsals. ‘We manage somehow,’ says Blasio Pinto, understating the zeal these men possess for music. He continues, ‘When you like something, you make time no matter what.’ It is when you see Skyhigh in action and watch the forty something Blasio, who is the lead vocalist, bouncing with vim on stage that you realise how deeply ingrained music is in the blood of these men.
Skyhigh started out in 1996, pursuing the dream of being in a band that many a Goan youngster harbours. It is not that disagreements are non-existent. Creative differences will appear from time to time. But they have learnt to take the rough with the smooth, allowing audience appreciation to bolster their efforts at producing good shows and never letting their egos scuttle their friendship. If they are creatively at odds, the person in question will have ample opportunity to prove himself right. And if he justifies his stance, in a democratic fashion the rest of the band mates will bow to any changes asked for.
The band appears to be versatile in its members’ skills. Besides lead vocals with his powerful voice, Blasio Pinto plays the rhythm guitar; Aurvile Rodrigues plays the drums, Collins Dias is on the keyboard, Anthony Fernandes handles the bass guitar and Elvis Alves is the lead guitarist. Aurvile, Collins and Elvis also lend vocals. Blasio and Aurvile are members of Goa’s hottest rock band Bad Blood as well. Aurvile, Anthony and Elvis are full-time musicians. Aurville stands apart with his own recording studio called Audio Masters in Margao. He has rubbed shoulders with the best in the Goan music industry recording golden oldies such as Lorna Cordeiro to young stars like Cielda Pereira of Nachom-ia Kumpasar fame. ‘The last twenty years with Skyhigh have been a wonderful journey…gigs at parties, dances, etc. The shows we’ve had outside Goa were the best. Total fun and frolic together. For me, it is the best band around. I can’t even remember the number of songs we’ve performed…songs that today’s generation remembers listening to as kids. It feels good when we play our original composition ‘Jump’ and everyone in the crowd sings it,’ says Aurvile.
Skyhigh as a band holds two unique distinctions: one, as Goa’s most sought after wedding band and the other is a place in the Limca Book of Records. This accolade is thanks to FM Rainbow’s programme Nite of the Fortnight which was first aired in 2006. It was the first chat cum music concert on stage in Indian Radio history and was the brainchild of RJs Bambino Dias and Savio Noronha. Skyhigh was part of the beginning of this radio show while flagging off its maiden episode with their original song ‘Jump’ which became a hit with the radio audience.
Skyhigh has performed ‘Jump’, its first original score, at the International Film Festival of India. The band members went on to produce another hit with ‘Flaming Orange’/ ‘Zoomba’. This song, which was specifically composed for the I-League team Sporting Clube de Goa, was inspired by the bright orange football jerseys sported by the players. The concert to celebrate AIR-Panaji’s golden jubilee saw the band regale its audience with ‘Lovin’’, an original composition with a regaetton beat.
The band entertains by playing different genres of music except for hard rock and jazz. Remo, Bob Marley and Sting are listed as some of their favourite singers. The band has performed all over India with the likes of Remo, Band of Boys, Shaan and Sagarika, and others. Skyhigh has played at international venues such as Dubai, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi and has even graced the Goan Festival in London, UK. They are to back Lorna in their forthcoming concert in Qatar (29th September). Although the band has much renown in Goa, playing in other countries is an experience on its own as the audience is overwhelmingly appreciative. Skyhigh hopes to record an original number with Lorna and release an album in the near future.