The Spirit of Goa, India

Many years ago when on visit to the Continent, and more specifically the south of France, I realized what really made Goa tick. Natural beauty exists everywhere, with breathtaking landscapes all over. Even back home, when you travel as close as even the North of Goa, in Maharashtra, you find better beaches than what we possess. However, what is that special thing that makes Goa as special as can be? Could that answer be far?It is quite evident to the senses that what rules is the benign spirit of the
people of Goa, and this is something the world would pay anything for. The happy
strains of music and the spirited forms of dance are what that please not only
to the eyes but excites the spirit of the soul. And, quite surely, it is music
that is the binding factor that keeps this Goanness alive, something that we all
crave for, something that is deeply imbibed in our being.

As Goa evolves, it is hardly going to be surprising if much of the physical feel
of this place will take a completely different look if we are not in a position
to make this precise Goan spirit the corner stone of what we stand for. Music
has to be encouraged in a more organized manner, and with so many stalwarts in
the field, it is about time that they come under one roof and maybe start a
private university of music, which can be partially funded by the government and
the rest through private participation. It is only then that true representation
will be there for the musical genius that flows through the Goan vein.

Berkeley, the place that houses one of the world’s most advanced music
universities, has long realized the importance of Asian influences in music of
today and as a consequence, the first couple of years in their 5 year curriculum
can be completed in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Surely, with the richness in our
music fabric, Goa could also be an international hub for music learning and
teaching. With our society so beautifully placed between the plusses of the West
and the East, it would be difficult to find something quite the equivalent
anywhere else in the world.

Undoubtedly, Goa is hot topic all over the world in general and India in
particular, and is now being viewed as the 9th metro in media parlance. With
such billing, it will not be long before the invasion that has just started,
will turn into a wave that might be a little difficult to handle. While one
cannot stop that stop that, it is important that Goanness as we all know it
should be top of the agenda, and one of the ways to do it is to fuse different
cultures through music, with the central pillar being that very spirit that not
only we hold, but the rest of the world holds to, too, close to our hearts. For
the spirited sake of Goa!

By Armando Gonsalves
Gonsalves Mansion,
Heritage Jazz Street,
Campal, Panjim,
Goa 403001

[Goan Coastline seen from Tiracol Fort, image by Dominik Hundhammer,
2003. Courtesy of Free Software Foundation, Inc.]