It was 7am, the music had an ethereal tone and as the hundred-odd people danced, the smile on the DJ’s face left one with a feeling of happiness – everything was so good because that is what Goa Gil aimed to do when he started playing.
His death on October 26 left the trance world scurrying to replay his music and Goa – his second home – relived the good memories his music left many with.
Goa Gil was born Gilbert Levey in California and was one of the first hippies whose experiments with music in Goa led to the creation of trance music – the beats still reverberating all over the world.
“He was a crazy guy. He started the first band parties on the beach and later switched to cassettes and DATs to live a footprint that none will be able to erase,” says Cinzia who believes his music made her fly.
Goa Gil had two live bands in the early 70s, according to Steve Devas who was witness to the first live music party in November 1974 – Anjuna Jam and Big Dipper.
“Gil kept the bands and gear going for another three years. After that he sold the gear to August (Braganza from Arpora) a local friend of ours, who had his own Konkani rock band. From that moment on Gil became a techno (later Psy-trance) DJ,” recalls Devas.
Gil was known to play non-stop for 24 hours and on a few occasions 48 hours during the days when there were no music restrictions in Goa. As he grew, his music turned mellower with a fluid bass.
“He was good but towards the end I did not like going for his parties, because when he played he never gave others a chance. He wanted to play from start to end and it got boring,” said Pamela from Italy who has not stopped visiting Goa since her first visit in 1970.
Gil was not just a music man but an individual who could take even the locals along with him. He loved his smoke and it was his love for it that left him with an understanding that compromise was better than confrontation.
“A hippie has no definition because it is a way of living where oneness with self is best understood through a power called spiritualism,” he often said, and he let that spiritualism flow through his music and way of living.
Goa Gil played music that turned an acid trip fructuous. He awoke the mushroom with laughter or let small clouds flavoured of cannabis direct the dancing.
“His music always ended up making me go happy and ready for another day of work,” recollects Harsh who drove miles when he was aware that Gil was playing at some party in the north.
After having made a name for his music in Goa, Gil was invited the world over, thus landing him with the tag of pioneer of Psy Trance. “Another legend from the tribe has moved on. Sad news,” was Gina Verdalle’s epitaph on social media.
For those who knew Gil, the party has followed him. He played for the last time in Goa in 2022 before returning to California where he was diagnosed with cancer and never made it back.
Wherever Gil is, there is going to be a swell party with the beats echoing on the shores of Goa. Boom Baba!