Celebrating the musical legacy of the Mando
Mandos, a form of song, is a legacy that has been preserved in Goa for generations. The Goa Cultural and Social Centre has be celebrating the state level Mando Festival for more than five decades, with each year, seeing new faces participate in the two-day festival. Café finds out how Mandos and Dulpods have been preserved for the future generation
Have you heard the melody of the ghumott in sync with the violin and the beautiful voices of women, expressing their longing for love? That’s what a Mando is. The musical legacy of Mando lives on in the voices of singers and musicians of Goa who have taken this form of traditional art across the world. Goa Cultural and Social Centre has been encouraging youngsters to carry the baton of keeping this tradition intact. The General Secretary of the Goa Cultural and Social Centre, Milagres Fernandes, shares his view: “The Mando festival by Goa Cultural and Social Centre celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and we are still going strong, keeping the tradition of Mando and Dulpod alive in Goa. There have been organisations that have had Mando festivals in different parts of Goa but those stop within a few years. Through our festival, we have seen many children age into teenagers and teenagers growing into seniors. There has been an increase in the number of participating groups over the years and it shows the love for Mando and Dulpod among the people.” The Mando festival has various categories like children, teenager, original, traditional and dance. “It is very tedious to form a group and practise regularly for the competition and I would like to appreciate the efforts taken by various priests who give their heart and soul for this traditional form of art. There are priests who form groups in the parishes where they are placed, bringing together musicians and children too. When they are transferred, they show the same enthusiasm to form a new group in a new parish. The previous groups then take the initiative to get their songs ready and participate in the festival on their own,” says Milagres, as he feels that these priests plant the seeds of the love of mando and dulpod as they move along. This festival has been so popular that the organisers don’t have to announce it for participating groups. Those interested, enquire about them in advance and book their spot.
Mandos are the songs with a western influence while Dulpods are songs of the masses. They both showcase the beautiful poetry, lyrics and music, expressing the splendour of the Konkani language. Goenchim Kirnnam has been winning the overall Best Mando group award for three consecutive All Goa Mando Festivals; they made their comeback to win it again at the 49th All Goa Mando Festival. Prof Cosma Fernandes formed Goenchim Kirnnam and prior to that, he headed a college group for the State Youth Festival where they performed the mando for five consecutive years and they won in the folk song category. “Mandos and Dulpods are a legacy of Goa. The Mando is a slow love song followed by a Dulpod, which is a satirical take on society. Mando, though influenced by Portuguese, originated in Konkani and uses only Konkani words. Starting with slow beats for Mando, it progresses to a faster tempo with Dulpods. As we say in Konkani, ‘Hasoit hasoit chimpto kaddta’,” says Prof Cosmo, an Associate Professor and head of the Konkani Department at MES College, Vasco. He further adds, “I appreciate the hard work that the Goa Cultural and Social Centre has been putting in to organise the festival for the past 50 years and I have been part of the festival since its 42nd edition. My suggestion is that the Mando should be included in the curriculum so that more children would learn about it. We learn about it at the college and university level, but this love for mando should start early. This is a traditional cultural art form which should be given importance.” To conclude he says, “It is also important for the state government, like the Directorate of Art and Culture, to take an initiative in keeping this traditional art form alive by organising festivals in different parts of the state.”
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