Sebastian D'Souza


Born: January 29, 1906
Died: 9 March, 1998


In our primary-school chemistry, we had learnt that water is considered to be the best solvent because it enhances the properties of the resultant solution without changing the basic characteristics of the individual ingredients. This water-like quality of arranger Sebastian D'Souza made him the almost-indispensable arranger for three famous composers (among many others) viz. Shankar Jaikishan, O P Nayyar & Salil Chowdhury. The arrangement of all the three composers was beautifully lush but they bore the unique & unmistakable stamp of the composer's style. It is to the credit of this respected & capable arranger that composers could have Sebastian in the recording studios with their respective composing traits, ring-fenced.

Sebastian D'Souza is perhaps one of the most prolific arrangers in Indian film music. Spanning a career from 1952 – 1974, Sebastian is said to have created scores for over 125 films and over 1000 songs.

Adept at understanding Indian and Western forms of music, Sebastian's development of harmonic concepts extended across a wide range of Indian, Latin and western instruments to create a unique blending effect. While Anthony Gonsalves started that trend, Sebastian carried it on enlarging and embellishing the concept He is one of the key players in changing the entire harmonic structure of the Hindi film song to create an extremely listenable full body of sound and music behind the voice of the singer.