Music is such that, artists are bound to experiment with it, be it Indian Raag or electronic beats, it flourishes through new approaches. Talking about Konkani Music, it holds a unique style, with a concoction of western music and Indian classical, it gives out a tremendous sense of authenticity to its Goan audience.
The originality that comes through in Konkani Music is the personality of each artist, it adds value to the song(s), and their performances reflect Goan culture. But to see the combination of different genres and styles, the common foundation stays the same - language, it adheres to both Indian and Western Konkani Music. Each style has its audience, it depends on people what they prefer more (traditional or western). Hence, musicians must continue to experiment with their tracks and entertain the Goan community.
A traditional instrument like Ghumat (percussion instrument) plays an important role in the history of Konkani music, in 2019 the state Govt. declared Ghumat as Goa’s heritage instrument (TOI article). Mando is another such folk music that holds an essential position in the evolution of Konkani music, discovered in the 1840s, Mando usually encapsulates love songs catering to emotions, accompanied by violin, guitar, and ghumat. It is also believed that the music used in GoanTiatr (folk drama) elevates Konkani literature, with the combination of the right lyrics and melodic tunes, it enriches Goan historicity. While speaking to ShakuntulaBharne, a renowned Goan musician talks to us about how old folk music always has a story to tell, it's not all about the beats, it reflects authentic Goan history. “Music is a universal language, with different influences, and by adding flavour to it, we add richness to every song,” quoted Shakuntala Bharne.
In an attempt to refresh audiences’ memories, in 2018 Chanvar - Konkani Geetancho Parmal was organized by Gautami Hade Bambolka, wherein a group of Konkani Artists portrayed the evolution of Konkani music and all its genres through a musical. “This musical is a history of how Konkani sangeet evolved over the years from its basic folk forms to its polished versions, fusing and blending with other forms of contemporary music, getting influenced with Western music and finally reaching to its avatar today,” says Bambolka (The Goan).
With a saxophone in his hand, and gifted with immense talent, Chris Perry revolutionized Konkani music by adding the Jazz culture to it. Known to be one of the pioneers of Konkani Music, Chris Perry is worshiped in Goa for his symphony, which touches ones’ soul. Along with him, Frank Fernand and M. Alphonso are credited for their contribution to Konkani Music and their determination to keep it alive.
“We’re so trendy we can’t even escape ourselves,” quoted by the legendary musician Kurt Cobain, and it is rightly said so, with the clock ticking things evolve and so did Konkani Music, it adapted itself to the new trends.
After the introduction of Jazz, artists took inspiration from Chris Perry and made music with Goan roots but with a touch of modernisation. While speaking to one of the new age artists, Joe Savio Fernandes (JSF) said, “Konkani music has already moved towards electronic music where one can use virtual instruments with the help of modern technology.” Joe, born in Goa and settled in the U.K makes self-composed Konkani music in EDM style. It is quite unusual to see a culture that is so deeply rooted in its folk music acquires modern styles and still does not lose its authenticity.
“Music is an art and it has always been experimental to every musician based on their style of making music. But the ultimate goal is to keep Konkani Music alive,” added Joe.
Alison Gonsalves is a thriving musician from Goa, with two original compositions, and the third one in the queue, yet to be released in June 2020 believes “Konkani music has its own charm, and the credit goes to the beauty of the language.” Even with such heavy western influence in its culture, young Goan musicians choose to stick to Konkani and bring something new to the table.
Taking up social issues in the form of Rap and using parody music to spread awareness, Amit JaiwantNiak aka Waking Grunt is an Indian rapper and lyricist from Goa. From being a mining engineer to a sub-editor, Amit Naik finally chose his passion for music over the profession and started making Konkani Rap to entertain the Goan Community. “I rap about reality, trying to appeal to the audience with all honesty,” says Amit Naik, while speaking to us about modernising music with Konkani Rap.
The future of Konkani music seems bright, with an amalgamation of traditional music and western style, young musicians of Goa are open to new techniques and ready to explore the creative journey. Shakuntala Bharne urges the future generation to explore the origins of Goan music, add their identity and then create new music, that way Konkani Music will always stay unique and stay deep-rooted to its history and culture.