Goa’s Musical History


The traditional Sao Joao songs which are sung Photo credit; Inn Goa
The traditional Sao Joao songs which are sung
Photo credit; Inn Goa

Goa has been a haven of culture and  traditions, with a blend of both Indian and western influences. Along with the many beaches that come to mind, Goa is also a musical destination.


Western music came ashore the Goan coatsline with Afonso de Albuquerque. To commemorate the conquering of Goa on 25th November 1510, which also happens to be the feast of St. Catherine, he ordered a church to be built in her honor. We now know that church as the Se Cathedral. ‘ A big book of liturgical Chants’ was purchased for the church. It is the noted that an organ was the first western instrument that came upon the Goan shores, since in the year 1512 Afonso suggested to the King of Portugal that an organ be placed in every Church in India.

He also established a band of Goan musicians, which is known through payment records of that time.

In the later years, other musical instruments were also introduced in the Goan masses and renditions of beautifully sung masses accompanied by several instruments were admired and written about. By mid-19th century, western-classical music was embraced widely by the Christian Elite and would send their children to Europe to get specialized training.

Bombay Calling

Bombay was a hub of bustling trade and commerce as well as a center for entertainment. Goan artists have made and immense contribution to the music scene in the country. Goan musicians helped form the Bombay Symphony in 1934, Bombay Philharmonic and Choral Society, and the Bombay Madgrial singer Singers Organization 1947.

Bombay was then a host to night clubs and Jazz clubs that had talented Goans performing. The Konkani movie ‘Nachu-iam Kumpasar’ depicts the scene quiet well. Famous Goan artists like Chris Perry, Chic Chocolate and Lorna, all got their break in the city of dreams. Although their contributions to the Bollywood and various others areas may go unsung, we cherish these musicians till date.

Traditional Instruments

Apart from the western instruments, locals would also use instruments like the Ghumot, the cymbols and various others to make music and pass their time. Another notable musical tradition would be the Goan Mando. Mando started out as a a form of communicating stories, and if one pays close attention to the lyrics, they all convey a story.


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