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Goa’s Golden Voice in Las Vegas

Melque Rodrigues


Melque Rodrigues is a Goan singer whose melodious voice has captured the attention of many in Las Vegas, and this past week, in Goa, too. Hers is a story of triumph over odds, of inner strength and determination that enabled her to chase her musical dreams despite being legally blind. Melque has donned many hats – singer, restaurant owner, sales representative, among others. But music is what makes her heart beat. Recently, Melque returned to Goa for the first time after moving to the U.S. eight years ago, performing at a couple of gigs in North and South Goa and wowing her fellow Goans with her wonderful voice. Dr. Charlane Pereira e Rebello caught up with this bubbly 38-year-old professional singer in Goa before she flew to the States on 27th January…

 Maria Melqueades Rodrigues, better known as Melque, has her Goan roots in Navelim. A popular face in music circles, Melque moved to the United States eight years back in an attempt to further explore her musical talent.

Melque was forced to give up her college studies when she was diagnosed with degeneration of the retina. The doctors told young Melque that her condition could worsen over the years with undue strain.

With a medical condition such as ‘macular degeneration’, which causes one to slowly go blind, she felt her best option was to discontinue her studies and pursue her passion for singing, hoping that it would blossom into a career.

She recalls, “My grandmother was sharp in spotting my talent when I was a little kid.” She has many fond memories of participating in various singing competitions as a youngster. Several teachers in her school (Perpetual Convent High School, Navelim) – Theresa, Ivonne and late Sr. Bernadine – reinforced her love for music.

You can also trace her musical lineage to her cousin, Brian Monteiro (popularly known as Brian Bones), the bandleader of ‘Muzik Mann.’ Her maternal grandfather was known to play the drums and the violin.

She was the crooner of ‘Muzik Mann’ for about 7 years in Goa. Shortly thereafter, she took the giant leap of going solo. She spoke of her performances at the Navy Ball, Clube Gaspar Dias, Baywatch, Longuinhos, Fiplees, Raj’s Pentagon, Jazz Inn, Coconut Grove and for many New Year parties.


Melque Rodrigues Performing


In Mumbai, Melque has performed at the Taj, Parsi Gymkhana, Oberoi, and the Naval Defence Headquarters in Pune. She has also performed with the legendary Jazzy Joe.

Melque fondly recalls, “Chris Perry was like a father figure to me.” He had commented, “The day I die, you will become a big star.”

She had a brief stint in Dubai singing at restaurants ‘Susegad’ and ‘Viva Goa.’  She reminisces, “Dubai was the turning point in my life.” Glenn Perry (son of late Chris Perry) helped Melque in voice training at his Music School in Dubai.

Living in the US and dabbling in different professions was a great learning experience for Melque. She was a sales representative for Chanel perfume. She says, “I enjoyed working there. The job was easy on my eyes too.”

She had a stint in California as a sales representative for branded perfumes, followed by another at Macy’s department Store in California, after which she got a transfer to one of its store outlets in Las Vegas as the Assistant Manager.

A lucky break or so it seemed! Melque joined the hospitality industry for two and half years where she took to singing nightly in her own restaurant  ‘Namaste Indian Cuisine’ serving Goan food to Americans, Indians and many others, until closing down last year.


Melque Rodrigues


She released an album in 2009 ‘Americak Pauxi,’ comprising of 12 songs (originally sung by Lorna and Usha Utup) in Konkani. Her music genre is jazz, pop and soul. World famous singers Whitney Houston and Tina Turner are her favourites. She is also a fan of Michael Jackson.

Melque has been in the US for eight years. This was her first trip back home since coming to the states.

Melque exclaims, “Music is everything to me. I don’t compete with anyone when I hold the mike in my hands. It’s just me and the audience. I sing from the depths of my heart and connect with the audience.”

She is single and thirty-eight, but marriage doesn’t feature on her list of worries. She is very sure about herself, “Marriage is not everything. I am an independent woman and I am happy the way I am. However, I am open to marriage. I do not face any pressures from my family.”

Just as every job has its rewarding experiences, Melque finds contentment in every moment. She says, “Each day is a big learning experience. At my restaurant in the US, I came across people from diverse backgrounds with different problems. I learnt that problems are part and parcel of life.”

 “Follow your dreams. Listen to your inner voice. One should always think positively ‘I am someone.’ As long as your conscience is clear, you are answerable to God and your parents. Truth shall always prevail,” says Melque.

As this US citizen bids adeus to Goa, she says, “I will always be a Goan at heart.”

Goa wishes you all the best for your future endeavors!

This Post Has One Comment

  1. jose s. dsouza

    It was nice to read your life story n most important thing was your reastaurant name namaste india which i also open in same name that time i didnt new there is also one indian restaurant same name in america but i opend it in swiss with my partner which he was not agreeing to sell goan food so i quit my self with the partnership which iam very proud goan i didnt care the money what we will make but i was proud for my goan cusine . i am proud u made it these goan cusine in america good luck

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