The Musical Tradition of Goa is very old. As
early as the 12th Century there is reference to music in Goa
in Treatises like "Sangiut Ratnakar" and "Sangiut Samayasar".
Surprisingly, even though Goa borders Karanataka the music
adopted was of Hindustani style. We have references to dance
who enriched the Peshwas' court in the 18th century. Earlier
Nagalibai Mandrekar served in the court of Kutub Shah of
Golconda in the 17th Century. Bhanamati the daughter of
Naglibai Mandrekar was the court dancer of Golconda. Goa has
produced several vocalists and instrumentalists such as
Morarka Pednekar, Mashelkar, Mal-pekar, Parwatkar Dinanath
Mangesh-kar and a host of others. The classical Hindu music
of Goa was traditionally the preserve of the temples. As
times went by the temples were not able to sustain this
tempo and the patronage given to the temple girls, bhavins
and kalavants all but disappeared. The chief exponents left
were the richer courts of the princes. However, one off
shoot of this music the bhajan survived. Some of these were
set in pure classical ragas. These family singing in the
evening turned to community singing about the middle of
nineteenth century. Later week long musical village
performance became the popular mode. This became a very
common feature of Goan rural life and it still continues.
Singing in the temples also continued, though much reduced.
Monoharburwa Shirgaonkar was one of these outstanding Goan
Bhajan singers. The temple based pre-Portuguese form of
music is personified by Dashvtar, Perni Zagar, Gaulan Kala,
Henpet, Pene, Virabhadra etc. Along-with there are
based forms is the music which accompanies dance forms such
as Gavda Zagar, Dhalo, Phugadi, Goff etc. Some of these have
their counterparts in the rest of the country. A peculiar
feature of these forms is that it is wellknown in advance
when and where a particular form is going to be performed.
The post Portuguese form of music camp up with the
Christians. Their attitude towards music made it a part of
the daily life of every individual. The Portuguese taught
western music as a part of school teaching in schools
attached to churches. This influence of western music is
most strong in Goan secular music. Many famous western music
performers have been produced by Goa. Thus was born the
Mondo an intermingling of traditional Indian folk style set
to a western tune. The theme is also local and always
romantic. The song of Goa — Mandos, Dulpods, and Deknnis --
are romantic and haunting and are clearly derived from
church music where the story began.
The folk dance forms are community based. The Hindus have
many folk dance peculiar to the season or the festival which
is being celebrated. Goff is danced in an alternate slow and
fast music. It is a dance confined to men folk of the
Cancona Taluka and is connected with the harvest season. The
dancers wind and unwind coloured chords as they dance at a
vigorous pace. The Kunbis dance is peculiar to the Kunbi
Tribe. They were the earliest inhabitants of Goa. The dance
is a combined one of men folk and women folk. The dancers
wear very colourful costumes and dance in the moonlight to
the music of Ghu-mat rhythms. Talagadi is another dance form
where only men perform. It has very celeborate steps but the
music is slow. It is a common dance which can be performed
at any get-together. Tonyamel is a dance which has its
counterpart in the Dandiyaras of Gujarat.
The dancers dmce to the rhythm of the music with short
sticks in their hands.
sticks are beaten together in rhythm with matching footwork.
The dance celebrates the successful harvest season. Eastern
Goa has the costumed dance of Virabhadra which depicts the
legend of Dakshayaga. There are Kanada words used in the
song showing its Kanada origin. The dancer is dressed up as
the mythical Virabhadra and he dances with a sword in each
hand accompanying the percussion instruments Dhol and Tash.
Mussal Khel is a dance of Chandor village. Only men folk
participate in this dance. The men use wooden pestles during
this dance. Phugdi and Dhalo are two dance forms where only
women dance. Phugdi is also very common in Maharashtra while
Phugdi is danced to a fast rhythm Dhalo is a slow dance. A
variant of Phugdi is Kalash Phugdi. In this dance women blow
into earthen pots held in their hands while they step
backwards and forwards. Dhangar and Ratib are two other
forms typical of the area.
Shigmo festival is celebrated all over Goa but the
Ghodemodni dance is typical of the'Bicholin area where the
Rane's once ruled. Only men dance in this form. It is a
martial dance with dummy horses. The dancers imitate the
horsemen as well as horses. The horses are formed with
bamboo girdles with painted horseheads tied round the waist
of the dancers. The dancers hold swords in their hands. The
music imitates the sound of horses hooves.
The 'Corridinbo' is the impact of Portuguese Rule in Goa.
The dance has fast rhythm and is danced with the use of
paper lanterns and coloured handkerchiefs. The dancers wear
very colourful dresses. The basic dance is Portuguese but it
is very popular in Goa because of the fast tempo of the
is a popular form during the Hindu festivals in Coa. All the
Hindu families have one or more member participating in
these dramas. As many as 1500 dramas are staged during the
festival season. More than a 1000 of these performances are
during the Shigmo festival when every village stages its own
performance. A form of drama very popular in Goa is "Tiatr".
In this form the main story is interspersed with musical and
humorous interludes. These have no relation with the main
story. The origin seems to be Portuguese and the Christian
community participates in these dramas.
Goa has a College of Art with facilities for teaching the
fine arts. People like lad, Trindole, Vaz, Mulgaonkar,
Fernandes and Dalai have been eminent in this field. The
Kala Academy of Goa has not only teaching facilities but
also other facilities like a 2000 spectator open air
theatre, air conditioned auditoriums, experimental theatre,
exhibition hall, library etc. The Academy has identified 27
folk art forms. Festivals are also held. Drama and Bhajan
competitions are also held. The Academica de Musical for
imparting training in western vocal and instrumental music
has also been taken over by the Kala Academy.