Remo Fernandes is a renowned Indian musician and playback singer, who is considered one of the pioneers of Indian pop music. He is popular for singing various pop, rock, and Indian fusion songs including Jalwa, Humma Humma, and O Meri Munni. He was honoured with Padma Shri in 2007.
Remo Fernandes was born as Luís Remo de Maria Bernardo Fernandes on Friday, 8 May 1953 (age 69; as of 2022) in Panjim, Portuguese territory of Goa (now India) . He did his schooling at Don Bosco High School in Panjim, Goa, and graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Architecture from Sir J.J College of Architecture in Mumbai. When Remo was 5 years old, he appeared on the stage for the first time.
A childhood picture of Remo Fernandes with his parents
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
He belongs to a Panjim family from Goa.
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is Bernardo and his mother’s name is Luiza Fernandes. He has a sister named Belinda who sings a Brazilian singer.
‘Noite de Luar’ was an old Portuguese song my mother used to sing. It means ‘Night of Moonlight’. While my father accompanied her on his Portuguese guitar (which I still have).”
An old picture of Remo Fernandes’ parents
Remo Fernandes with his wife, sister, and brother-in-law
Wife & Children
He got married to a french woman named Michele Delahaye; however, they got a divorce. They have two sons named Noah Fernandes and Jonah Fernandes.
Remo Fernandes with his ex-wife, Michele
Remo Fernandes and Jonah Fernandes
On 26 January 2014, Noah (Remo’s son) got married to Minakshi Damodaran Sundaram.
My son Noah married Minakshi Sundaram in Kerala on 26 Jan. Beautiful ceremony! Feels fab, I have a daughter at last! pic.twitter.com/O62Pdy147G
— Remo Fernandes (@RemoFernandes) January 30, 2014
In 2018, Remo got married to Zenia Santos Costa Pereira who sometimes is a part of Remo’s backing vocals during his performances.
Remo Fernandes with his wife, Zenia Santos Costa Pereira
In his autobiography, he revealed that he has been in various relationships.
Remo follows Christianity.
Remo Fernandes’ autograph
Remo Fernandes started composing love songs at the age of 14.
I formed this group called The Beat 4 when I was in high school in Goa. I played the lead guitar and sang. I also composed our originals, the first one at age 14. We won first prize at most contests in Goa: for best group, best lead guitarist, and best drummer. This was The Beat 4 farewell show, as I was disbanding the group because I was leaving for Mumbai to study architecture. I think it was in 1970. I was 17. Or it could have been in 1969, in which case I was 16.”
After his long backpacking trip to Europe after college, he returned to Goa and engaged with the hippie culture. Then he met a group of a European band named Amsterdam Balloon Company who was travelling at that time. Remo also started playing at their concerts at Baga beach in Goa. In 1981, he performed in Amsterdam with Lucas Amor, the violinist in this group, and released a record called Venus and the Moon.
Remo Fernandes (second to left) during a concert in Goa
He formed his own band fusion music and named it Indiana along with the bass guitarist named Abel, the tabla player, Lala, and the percussionist, Bondo. Remo has been a part of many bands including ‘The Microwave Papadums.’ On 19 September 2000, three of The Microwave Papadums band members, Dharamedra Hirve, Selwyn Pereira and Victor Alvares, along with Remo’s personal assistant Sunil Redkar, were killed in a road accident in Kanpur after a concert.
Remo Fernandes and The Microwave Papadums
In 2002, Remo released two albums, ‘Symphonic Chants’ and ‘India Beyond.’ However, these albums went unnoticed in India. His albums “Pack That Smack” and “Bombay City” (both on CBS) sold more than 20,000 cassettes each. On Remo’s 50th birthday, he held a reunion concert in Goa with his former bands such as The Beat 4, Indiana, and The Savages. The concert was attended by 25,000 people and it went on for four hours. As a band member, Remo performed in many places including Brasil, Bahrain, New York, Nairobi, Seychelles, Santa Cruz, Mauritius, and Margao.
‘Remo Fernandes and The Microwave Papadums’ Rocking on 7th May 2022 at Siolim
In 1984, Remo recorded his first album titled Goan Crazy followed by another album titled Old Goan Gold in 1985. He released this track on a four-track cassette TEAC Portastudio recorder in his home under the banner of ‘Goana Records.’ In most of Remo’s albums, he played all the instruments, sang all voices, and was the only composer of its music and lyrics. From engineering the recording and designing the album covers, he did it all by himself. While his cassettes were produced in Mumbai, he went from one shop to another, distributing his cassettes in Goa along with postcards, an illustrated book of his poems titled Leads, and t-shirts that he designed.
Album titled Goan Crazy (1984) by Remo Fernandes
After being inspired by Mother Teresa, Remo composed a double album titled Teresa and the Slum Bum (2019), which features 35 singers from India, Europe, the United States of America, and the U.K.
Remo has worked on Hindi pop songs and Hindi film music because of which he became a national craze. Remo got his first break when Rajiv Gandhi (former Prime Minister) visited Goa. He was invited to perform in their official ceremony. He sang a song titled ‘Hello Rajiv Gandhi’ which earned him immense popularity. Remo performed at the fundraiser event for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims, which was telecasted on Doordarshan. He sang a few of his songs and his performance was highly appreciated by the audience. Remo Fernandes lent his voice to various Hindi songs including ‘Dekho Dekho Yeh Hai Jalwa’ from the film Jalwa (1986), ‘Ek Ho Gaye Hum Aur Tum’ from the film Bombay (1994), and ‘Aflatoon – Aflatoon’ from the film Aflatoon (1997). In 1998, Remo released another music album titled ‘O Meri Munni,’ which was a huge hit.
Album ‘O Meri Munni’ (1998) by Remo Fernandes
Remo is fond of writing. He has written articles for newspapers, magazines, and lyrics as well. In 2021, Remo Fernandes became the author of his first book titled Remo: The Autobiography of Remo Fernandes, in which he wrote about his journey that covers his upbringing in Portuguese Goa, early passion for music, architecture studies in Bombay, hitchhiking adventures in Europe and North Africa with former companion Isa, his return to Goa, marriage to Michele, fatherhood, divorce, the fatal accident involving his band members, and his decision to stay in Porto, Portugal.
The British musician, Ian Anderson, commented on Remo’s book and said,
From the opening chapter of his autobiography, Remo takes us on a journey of kaleidoscopic images from his memories of childhood, growing up in Goa. I can smell the streets, the cooking, the sea and the feni as my own memories return to me through his words. He tells the story of his passions and adventures in music and the arts in an educated but entertaining way. His love of his roots and his strong ties to his homeland give this book authority and charm in abundance, all written in excellent English but with the spicy additions of Portuguese and Indian words and phrases for context.”
Remo Fernandes at his book signing event
He endorsed international brands including Pepsi and Shure Microphones (USA).
In 2015, Remo Fernandes and his son were summoned by the North Goa police after a girl alleged that their car hit her, followed by accusations that Remo verbally abused her. The police registered the first information report under section 8 of the Goa Children’s Act, 2003, against Remo after recording the statement of the girl; however, he denied the charges and said he was away in Europe at the time of the accident. The charges were non-bailable and if found guilty, he would get three years imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh.
Awards & Honours
- Audience Favorite Award 1986
- Singers: The Shadows, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, and Cliff Richard
- Remo plays the guitar, bamboo flute, and synthesizer and sings in English, Hindi, French, Portuguese, and Konkani.
- When he was young, he used to record albums at home, write and illustrate a book of poems, design postcards and t-shirts, and drive around on a yellow scooter distributing all three.
A postcard Remo Fernandes designed in the early 80’s
- After graduating from college, he hitch-hiked around Europe and North Africa with a tent and haversack for two-and-a-half years, singing and passing a hat around in underground stations and pedestrian streets, composing songs and writing poems, sketching, and absorbing invaluable multicultural influences—experiences.
- Remo lives in Porto, Portugal, and spends a few months every year in his native Goa, India.
- He always had a keen interest in Indo-Western compositions which is why he tuned his guitar to sound like a sitar, before the word ‘fusion’ had been forged. In his autobiography, he wrote,
If I saw the guitar as male, the flute was the female that completed it.”
- During an interview, Remo revealed that he always wanted to stay in Goa instead of going to Mumbai to build his career.
- He performed with several popular artists such as Jethro Tull, Led Zeppelin, Eurythmics, Zakir Hussain, and Trilok Gurtu, and Alfred Rose.
Remo Fernandes with Alfred Rose in Margão
- Remo considers the rejections he received to be the only reason for his growth in music.
- He owns Peugeot 3008 GT line.
- Remo consumes alcoholic beverages and non-vegetarian food.
- Remo also occasionally smokes.
A picture of Remo Fernandes while smoking
- During an interview, he shared that in the late 1980s, he felt like a rock star for the first time when girls rushed onto the stage after his performance at the Festival of India in the USSR.
- In 2013, he joined the political party AAP.
Joined AAP. Feels like I’ve joined a Freedom Movement, not a political party! pic.twitter.com/J7q6TjSgbb
— Remo Fernandes (@RemoFernandes) December 29, 2013