‘Think Music, Think Furtados’ mentions Mumbai’s iconic music store which has been serving its customers for more than 150 years now. Established in 1865 by John Gomes, the man himself had no idea that the business would become synonymous with ‘music’ years later.
Phalguni Gupta | BeatCurry Team
The firm holds exclusive rights to iconic international instrument brands across the country. It is also India’s biggest dealer in music books and administers one of the world’s largest centers for Trinity College London, the music examinations board. Furtados holds a record number of international dealerships for top-of-the-line brands in music, with a growing retail network. 17 showrooms and over 350 dealer outlets. Instruments are imported from all across the globe including the USA, Canada, UK, Germany, Netherlands etc. The Furtados Institute of Piano Technology was the country’s only one of its kind, and it ran for two and a half years, producing 18 qualified graduates who now professionally undertake service, tuning, and repairs.
It all started with John Gomes, who didn’t have any money to invest and knew nothing about music. In 1952, When BX Furtado & Sons, a Christian religious supplies business, went up for sale he decided to bid for it and won it. Six years later, LM Furtado & Sons – a Western music instruments business was also on the verge of being sold. Initially Bhargava’s Musik, an Indian classical music instruments business decided to buy it but because of it being a Hindu establishment and fearing that their Christian religious supplies business would be closed, the offer was made to Gomes, who ended up buying it. “When my dad bid for and bought BX Furtado & Sons, he didn’t have the funds. A lot of people helped him. So he made many insurance policies of small amounts (Rs. 500 or Rs. 600) and named them as the beneficiaries. So if anything happened to him, they would get their money.” Says Joseph as quoted by Hindustan Times.
When it came to Gomes’s family he made sure his children learn to play. John started a family tradition, where all his children would learn the piano, when they each turned six. The love for music is what made them start Furtados School of Music, which began in 2011. The only aim being to provide quality and organised music education to students and aspiring musicians all over India. “If you can have a curriculum for History, Hindi or Maths in regular schools, why not music?” says Joseph’s wife Tanuja, who founded FSM along with her ex-colleague Dharini Updhayay as quoted by Forbes. They collaborated with experts to develop a pre-primary and K-12 music education curriculum, and they have since formed partnerships with 85 schools in 11 cities across India, from Akola in Maharashtra to Delhi, to provide students with music education.
Picture Courtesy: Anshuman Poyrekar
Having survived several years, moving through all the challenges even during the pandemic the business found its way to make sure the music education continues and that’s how FSM Buddy came into existence. “When the COVID-19 crisis started, we were agile and reached out to our students to enable online learning for them through FSM Buddy. The online platform has completely changed our consumer’s behavior. Parents and students are enrolling, and our teachers, who were initially not fully convinced, are now doing a fantastic job in imparting music education online” says Tanuja Gomes as quoted by YourStory. The app not only covers music but a wide range of arts including speech and drama, dance, drawing, etc.
What has kept this legacy going after several years is a pure love for music and a desire to ensure that it reaches as many people as possible, and with digital technologies entering the picture, this effort is sure to succeed.
Cover photograph courtesy: Mexy Xavier
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