17-year-old Beverly Mendonca composes her first song - "Go Corona Go"
Beverly Mendonca is a chess enthusiast from Goa and well known in the chess world for her creativity. She is a FIDE rated player and chess runs in her family! She is the sister of Leon Mendonca, one of India's most talented youngsters in chess. The family has been going through a very tough time in the Covid-19 situation with Leon and Lyndon (father) stranded in Europe and Beverly and Anita (mother) at their home in Goa. In such a tense and stressful situation your creativity can go for a toss! But Beverly has risen to the occasion and come out with truly something special. Check out her first song which is written, directed and composed by her - "Go Corona Go"!
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a hard time for the Mendonca family. Lyndon (father) and Leon (son) were playing tournaments in Europe when the global pandemic struck. Flights to India were cancelled and the two of them got stuck in Budapest, Hungary. Anita (mother) and Beverly (daughter) were at their homes in Goa. The news of Leon and Lyndon not returning for months was not easy. To add to it, Anita being a doctor had to be on the front line dealing with the Covid patients. For Beverly sitting at home, hoping each day that her mother would return safely and wishing that her brother and father would be fine thousands of miles away was not easy. But as they say, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade!
I have known Leon since quite a few years now. He is just 14 years old and already and IM with a 2500+ Elo rating. Very soon he will be one of the best players of the country. However, I got to know Beverly only in 2018. At the Goa GM international 2018 she would often enter the commentary room and check out what the members of the ChessBase India team were doing. She herself is a decent player with a FIDE Elo of 1271, but it was quite clear to me that chess was not were her interests lay. One day after she completed her game she came to the commentary room. I asked her about the result and we were chatting about the game when I saw her scoresheet.
Beverly's pawn was queening and seeing this situation on the board, she imagined how her own king would shepherd the pawn towards becoming a queen! In this one page of sketching you could see the tremendous imagination that the youngster possessed! That excited look on the pawn's face, dreaming about becoming a queen, the triumphant look on the king's face who knows that he will win the game! All of this created a deep impression on me and on the final day I decided to know more about her.
Creating something special
With the family scattered and her future uncertain, it could be quite possible that Beverly would have lost her sense of creativity and imagination in the lockdown. But tough times bring out the best in fighters. She sat down and started writing a song on the pandemic situation that had hit the world. "As you probably know me by now," says Beverly, " Right from my childhood to date any free time for me is an opportunity to sketch some crazy cartoons and hum some funky tunes. With Corona having bombarded every possible news channel and social media platform, I decided to compose a song and a few poems and sketches that would strike a sentimental chord in each and everyone of us in some special way." Beverly has been learning the piano for many years. So creating music wasn't something new to her. But to create a full-fledged song with music production, lyrics, video etc. was not going to be easy.
Going all in
"It all started with this initial tune in my mind which I decided to write down and work on it along with the piano. I slowly started building up on it in my spare time. I am constantly thinking out of the box and wanted my creation to be rather unique. I have kept the entire composition offbeat and incorporated some rap also to connect with all genres. The audio done at home was complete from my end but I still felt the urge to notch it up further by recording it in a professional studio along with a video in order to reach out and connect to a wider audience."
But with lockdowns in place, wouldn't getting the song done professionally in Goa be a huge challenge? "My mother being a doctor and a frontline Covid warrior has always been my greatest source of inspiration and motivation!", says Beverly. "She as usual immediately seized the challenge and got in touch with some local recording studios. For the 1st time in my life I did a professional audio recording and we were all totally amazed with the quality difference. The videographers along with my mother and myself carefully curated studios, costumes, appropriate locations from different sites of our beautiful Goa based on the theme and weaved out this song!"
Listen to the full song!
For me this song is an embodiment of two things - Beverly's amazing talent and the Mendonca family's tenacity. None of this would have ever been possible if Beverly didn't have this ability to come up something truly unique and creative. But it takes a lot of courage to invest time, money and effort in this entire project when your family is split in two different continents and life is in chaos due to the pandemic. Be it Lyndon leaving his job or enrolling Leon in a school in Chennai for his chess career or publishing Beverly's book on chess fiction, Lyndon and Anita have always gone the distance to ensure that Beverly and Leon do justice to their talent. This song is just another testament of the willpower and dedication of the entire family.
Beverly's Corona creativity
Apart from the song, Beverly has also done some sketches and poems on the pandemic situation. Have a look at them and make sure you pay attention to the little details!