Sound Performatives

The issue of performativity of music manifests power relations that are generated through it. It enables us to explore what a musicking moment does to us and our society. Being an expressive art, music impacts the listeners as well as its performers. Sounds touch and resonate in the body and being of both its producers and receivers. We enact identity and social relations through music. Music creates it audiences as well as its performers. All music stays alive in its performance as well as its influence lingers beyond the moment of performance.

We can see how the Mando and Dulpod in Goa was moved from participatory mode of performance to presentation mode in search of the display as well as nurturing of Goan distinct identity. This move occurred under the weight and pressure of merger of Goa into Maharashtra under the pretext that Goa did not have its own language. At that time an attempt was made to demonstrate that the distinctive culture and language of Goa was embedded in Mando and Dulpod. Hence, we can trace Mando festivals being celebrated from 1965 onwards. These festivals continue even in our days. Mando and Dulpod, therefore , become a mode through which both performers and audiences enact their distinct Goan-ness. Indeed, the performance of Mando and Dulpod in the Mando festival is political and identity assertive.

Before the birth of Tiatr, Goans in Mumbai performed Khell and Zagor in their Kulls . This performances were modes of enacting their identity. It is through this performative practices which being participatory and had no boundary between the performers and the audiences, Tiatr, that was scripted and modelled on Italian model was born. Tiatr clearly divided the performers and the audiences. Tiatr embraced konkani Cantara . But with the coming of Radio Cantra got a life of their own out side the Tiatr platform. The rise of the internet and the youtube has taken Cantra to a new level. Like radio , the internet has taken Cantra to the world Konkani community. Listening to them become performative of the Konkani identity at several levels and unleashes therapeutic energies in those communities. The political is performative in music. It enables us to create our social space and claim our space within it. In order to claim our social space in Mumbai Goans designed Tiatr and Cantara.

Western Music has 12 semitones and Indian music 22 microtones. Besides, Indian music is largely monophonic while western music is polyphonic. It is said that Goa is place that heard the polyphonic voices for the first time. For along time Indian music could not be harmonized with the Western Music. It is credited to the Goan Braganzas who sprung forth from the parish music schools first harmonized the Indian music with the Western Music. It said that their ability to write the score enabled them to bring this confluence. This movement was later carried on by the likes of Anthony Gonsalves, Chris Perry and others who remained mainly behind the curtains. There are question why these Goan musicians chose to remain behind the curtains. They chose this performative mode for some reason. It is for us to discern their reason without indulging into speculations.

Within this performative modes of expression, we can trace several popular forms like ladain ( litany), verse, ovi, fugdi, dekni etc. Ladains are performed for various reason in the home or near the cross. It was one of the most popular devotion among the Goan people. It does not require a priest and ordinary people can perform the same. The famous Deknni being composed by catholic Carlos Eugenio Ferreira is thought to be a performance of nostalgic hindu past. Judith Butler teaches that identity is performatively constructed . Goans among other things construct their identity through music. Performativity is uses to build caste boundaries too. Some forms of music are thought to be of less dignity by the upper caste. This is why the Goycho Mhar as a musician seem to have disappeared from the scene. We, therefore have to understand how we complexly use sounds to construct our identity, validate it as well as humiliate others.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao