Music of Goa

Music of Goa
Music of India

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Music of Goa refers to the music from the state of Goa, on the west coast of India. It has produced a number of prominent musicians and singers for the world of Indian music (and including for the films of Bollywood).

Goa has produced some of the finest performers of Hindustani classical music, such as the vocalist Kesarbai Kerkar (1892–1977). Lata Mangeshkar, the most famous singer in the history of the Indian film industry, is the daughter of a Goan, Dinanath Ganesh Mangeshkar, as is her sister Asha Bhosle,Goem Shahir Ulhas Buyao , Sidhanath Buyao . Goa has become home of one strand of the Trance music scene.


Traditional music

The traditional Goan musical instruments are dhol,mridanga,Tabla, ghumat,kasale,madlem, Shehnai, surt, Tasso, Nagado, tambura. Mridanga or Pakhawaj is a wooden cylinder covered at both ends with a goat skin,and is very important part of Hindu devotional songs sung in the temples and is always accompanied by cymbals called as taal in Konkani and sometimes Zanz. The ghumat is an earthen-ware pot-like vessel made by Goan potters with openings on the two opposite sides, one large and the other small in diameter, with the middle portion much bulging outwards. On the larger opening with the edge conveniently moulded for the fitting, a wet skin of a lizard (lacerta ocelata), known in Konkani as sap or gar, is fully stretched to cover the whole surface of the opening. When accompanying a song or dance the gumott is usually placed on the left thigh. The ghmat is essential for Hindu festivals, some temple rituals like Suvari vadan, bhivari and mando performances. A madlem is a cylindrical earthen vessel covered at both ends with the skin of a lizard and is mostly played by the Kunbis, whereas tambura is a stringed instrument like the veena but with only one string is normally used during Hindustani classical concerts.

The Portuguese brought the piano, the mandolin and the violin to Goa.

Konkani song may be classified in four groups: one which draws on the more pristine form in music and verse, as in the fugdi or the dhalo; the second which blends western and native music but retains Konkani lyrics as in deknnis; the third which blends native and western music as well as language as in dulpod; and the fourth which has a marked influence of western music and lyrics in Konkani with borrowed Portuguese words as in mando.

As many as 35[1] types of Konkani Song have been classified. These include banvarh, deknni, dhalo, dulpod, duvalo, fell song, fughri, kunnbi song, launimm, mando, ovi, palnnam, talghari, tiatr song, zagor song and zoti. The Christian and Hindu religious song is also a type of its own.

  • Banvarh is a mourning song, usually sung on the day of cremation by Hindus.
  • Deknni is a song which originated in Bardez, Ilhas and Salcete.
  • Dhalo is a wedding song.
  • Dulpod is a dance song with quick rhythm and themes from everyday Goan life.
  • Duvallo is a pregnancy song.
  • Fell is folk drama with themes from Indian epics or Indian history. It is performed by wandering artists usually after the rains, which start in June and end in August or September. The fell song is a dance song.
  • Fughri is a dance song performed on religious occasions, particularly in honour of the deity Ganesha.
  • The Kunnbi, who are probably together with the Gaudde the oldest inhabitants of Goa, belong to the peasant strata. The kunnbi song is a dance song in the fughri style depicting their own life, but also protesting against exploitation and social discrimination in a subtle manner.
  • Launim is a song dealing with religious and legendary themes.
  • Mando is a dance song whose major theme is love, the minor ones being historical narratives, grievance against exploitation and social injustice, and political resistance during the Portuguese presence in Goa.
  • Ovi, which the Portuguese termed as versos, is a song with nuptial themes. It has the Sanskrit root vri which means “to choose, to select”. The ovi has three rhymed lines and one unrhymed. The former contain each three or four words and the fourth line one, two, and exceptionally three words. The number of syllables is nine for the rhymed lines and four or five for the last line. The early Portuguese Christian missionaries adopted the ovi-form for liturgical and devotional hymns.
  • Palnnam is a cradle song, a lullaby.
  • Talgarhi is a song of the Gaudde. The theatre song is sung during the stage play, mainly performed by wandering artists during the dry season. They entertain the public while touching on daily life, but also sing subtle satires on local politics and the shortcomings of Goans.
  • Zagor means “watch”. The zagor song is sung in kunnbi folk plays depicting their own life. They are usually staged at night. * Zoti is sung at nuptials.

The Christian and Hindu song for the liturgy and popular devotions is an essential part of Goan daily life.

Western, indigenous, Indian

Goa, a part of India since 1961, had been ruled since the 16th century by Portugal, and has thus had closer connections with Western classical and popular music than the rest of India.

Over the centuries, indigenous Goan music was blended with European music, particularly that of Portugal.

The Goa Symphony Orchestra and Goa Philharmonic Choir were founded by Lourdino Barreto. [1]

Konkani liturgical music

Goa has a rich heritage of Konkani liturgical music and hymns. The standard hymnal of the Archdiocese of Goa and Daman is called Gaionancho Jhelo (Garland of hymns) and the diocese also brings out a periodical sheet music publication of Konkani liturgical hymns a called Devacheam Bhurgeanchim Gitam (Songs of God's children)


In the area of Western music there are several pop stars, among them Remo Fernandes (born 1953). Goan popular music is generally sung in the Konkani language. Another contributor to Goan music is the Canadian- Goan band Goa Amigos, The band has represented Goa at the largest south Asian festival in North America.

Home for electronic music

Goa has become a home for electronic music, especially a style called Goa trance. This genre began its evolution in the late 1960s, when hippies from the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere turned Goa into a tourist destination.

When tourism began to die out, a number of devotees stayed in the area, pursuing a specific style of trance music. Early pioneers included Mark Allen, Goa Gil and Fred Disko.

Goa trance

Goa Trance (sometimes referred to as Goa or by the number 604) is a form of electronic music that developed around the same time as Trance music became popular in Europe. It originated during the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Indian state of Goa. Essentially, Trance music was pop culture's answer to the Goa Trance music scene on the beaches of Goa where the traveller's music scene has been famous since the time of the Beatles. Goa Trance enjoyed the greater part of its success from around 1994–1998, and since then has dwindled significantly both in production and consumption, being replaced by its successor, Psychedelic Trance (also known as psytrance). Many of the original Goa Trance artists: Simon Posford, Slinky Wizard, and Total Eclipse are still making music, but refer to their style of music simply as "PSY". TIP Records, Flying Rhino Records, Dragonfly Records, Transient Records, Phantasm Records, Symbiosis Records, Blue Room Released were all key players on the beach and in the scene.

Goa Trance is closely related to the emergence of Psytrance during the latter half of the 1990s and early 2000s, where the two genres mixed together. In popular culture, the distinction between the two genres often remains largely a matter of opinion (they are considered by some to be synonymous; others say that Psytrance is more "psychedelic/cybernetic" and that Goa Trance is more "organic", and still others maintain that there is a clear difference between the two). If anything, the styles are easier to differentiate in Central and Eastern Europe (e.g. Austria, Hungary, Romania) where Goa Trance parties are more popular than Psy-Trance parties - the opposite being true in the UK, Belgium and Germany. Psy Trance has a noticeably more aggressive bassline and goa tends to avoid the triplet-style bass lines. Between them however, both psy- and goa trance are sonically distinct from other forms of trance in both tonal quality, structure and feel. In many countries they are generally more underground and less commercial than other forms of trance, except for Brazil and Israel, which since the year of 2000 it became both countries most popular type of music for the general party scene. Top DJ's from the UK and other parts of Western Europe fly to Goa for special parties, often on the beaches or in rice paddies. "Shorebar" in Anjuna Beach is traditionally seen as the birthplace and center of the Goan trance scene.

See also

Amancio D'Silva Goan Guitarist who brought Karnatic stylings to Jazz in the west in the late 1960s.

Notes and references

  1. ^ Pereira, José/ Martins, Micael. 1984: Nr. 145, p. 62. Refer also to Rodrigues, Manuel C. 1957. “Folk Songs of Goa “, in : Goan Tribune of 6.10.1957, pp. 9-10.

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