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Remo in birthday virus fight

Panaji, May 7: The Goa government intends to use Remo Fernandes’ 50th birthday bash to launch a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) awareness campaign.

Goa was the first state to report a SARS case. The state government and the Centre panicked last month when marine engineer Prasheel Varde was found to be SARS positive. Varde was later found not to have spread the virus to anybody. Nor did he have clinical symptoms of SARS. But Goa’s handling of the crisis came in for criticism.

Out to show that the state is now ready to tackle SARS, a high-level task force of politicians and editors has decided that Goa should sponsor an awareness campaign. The campaign will be shown during Remo’s concert tomorrow and some of it has already been filmed.

The move recalls China’s commissioning a film on its fight against SARS with leading actress Gong Li roped in to play head nurse at the frontlines of the fight against the disease.

Remo’s birthday bash at the Gymkhana grounds in Campal is free and open to all. Advertisements for the event say: “No chairs for all the money in the world. Bring cushions (if you have) delicate feet and bottoms.”

Remo is set to perform with groups he grew up with — The Beat 4 of yesteryears, The Savages, the fusion-based Indiana and The Valadares Sisters (who sing Konkani, Portuguese and Italian numbers). He will also perform alongside Goa’s own Luso-Latino balladeer Lucio Miranda and his present band, the Microwave Papadums

The pop star, who has been performing since the late 1960s, says there is “lots (of music yet) to come”. “Goa is everything to me. Its culture has made me what I am. Its ambience has made my music what it is. The people have given me support, love and encouragement throughout my career. On this day, I would like to give back a little of what I’ve received,” Remo says.

BPL has declared a ‘Remo Week’ — anyone sending a birthday message to the singer and buying a post-paid telephone connection is being promised a “fabulous free gift”.

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