Looking into the Musical archive of Goa

Sounds and silences are part of the rich cultural archive in Goa. Music has always been highly esteemed in Goa. This rich archive seemed to have emerged as a result of an encounter with colonization. This does not mean that there was no music before the colonizers. It only means that we have sounds from colonial times. Sound and music have been an important sphere of assertion as well resistance to the colonizer. This is an important field to be explored in the coming days. Mimesis has been established as resistance by Lucy Irrigaray. Imitation of the sounds of the colonizer is a hybridized mode of resistance. It is a hybridized interrogation of the colonial power. Besides, an exchange of local sounds and colonial sounds have produced fusion of horizons of both cultures. Hence, we have to critically study the musical archive of Goa.

if we problematize, complicate and resonate with the sound archive of Goa, we might understand how sound has served faith, caste , as well as resistance to the colonial power. Sounds have certainly served the catholic faith in Goa. We and trace rich registry of colonial as well as distinctly native sounds in our religious music. It appears that colonial music has also been used for caste assertion by the upper caste. The very birth of Mando perhaps inspired by the Fado of the colonizer in areas like Loutolim, Raia and Curtorim points in the direction. Hybridization as taught by Homi Bhaba is certainly a form of resistance to the colonial rulers. Besides, our archive does open our masculinist and patriarchal side of our culture.

Exploring of the sound archive of Goa might open several uncomfortable sides of our society. It might show us how we have lost the music of the ST community. We may also with pain realize the several musical instruments as well as sounds of the precolonial society have become extinct with time. Besides, the Goan lens of our sounds can show how we seem to have migrated to electronic musical instruments silencing traditional instruments . Besides, silencing of some of the sounds from our archive, there are several good things in the archive of our sounds. We have preserved the sound of Gumot even today. Goan musicians have contributed to the music of Bollywood bringing about a harmonization of Goan music with other Indian forms.

Critical study of this kind promises rich academic harvest. We can indeed come to heightened awareness that we often bring about archival silence through our obsession with some sounds that we delighted in. This may produce a voyeuristic desire to give voice to the lost sounds from the past. But these act can sound like reinforcing neo-imperialism of the colonizers. Decolonial thinking cannot reproduce colonial modes of domination in the name of resurrecting some lost sounds of the past. Such neo-imperialism is reproduced in other fields of our culture like Temple/ Church politics. It does smacks of voyeuristic desire. All desire is scopic teaches Jacques Lacan. Thus, desire to see becomes a way of getting back at the innocent who are then villainized as heirs of the colonizers while at the same time paradoxically producing colonial imperialism.

Critical musicology can assist us to reimagine and produce emancipative music in Goa. Of course , we have indeed a tough task to discern the sonic boundaries of Goa and Goan-ness. While we remain careful about the Goan sounds , we have to be alert to the fact that we may monolithize Goan Music . This means we have to embrace the plurality of Goan sound archive. This is why we have to critically scrutinize disciplinary practices that curate and create music as well as silence other sounds that are deemed as non-Goan. Thus, we have to avoid impoverishing our very own Goan archive. This is very important as we have already begun our journey to take our music into the digital world. digitization of music is a blessing and can reach a large number of people yet in our obsession to only few sounds, we may silence some vital sounds from our archive. We, therefore, have the ethical calling to let Goan music flourish and grow. To archive this task we have to listen to the silent and silenced  sounds of Goa.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao