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Mando Festival: The beats of Goa

The 53rd edition of All Goa State Level Mando Festival is all set to begin from December 18. NT BUZZ gets more details about the two-day event


Different generations will come together on one stage to perform traditional folk music at the 53rd edition of All Goa State Level Mando Festival scheduled to be held on December 18 and 19 from 5 p.m. onwards at Kala Academy, Panaji.

Organised by Goa Cultural and Social Centre in collaboration with Department of Art and Culture and Kala Academy, the chief guest for the inaugural function will be minister for art and culture, Govind Gaude while the guest of honour will be power minister Nilesh Cabral.

Started 53 years ago by the then president of Club National, Bernand Fernandes, the Konkani Basha Mandal took over the organising of the festival two years later. For the last 49 years however it has been conducted by Goa Cultural and Social Centre.

While initially, the festival would witness participation of about 12 to 15 groups, however for the last 10 years the number of groups participating in the event has gone up. In fact for the golden jubilee edition, the festival saw 53 groups taking part in it.

 “Mando is a form of love song. It was mostly sung to express ones feelings. Be it good or bad aspect of love, it was expressed through mando. The idea behind organising this festival is to keep Goa’s cultural heritage of folk dance and songs alive and thriving,” says president, Goa Cultural and
Social Centre, Francisco Noronha.

The festival is held in six categories: children (singing), teenagers (singing), traditional (singing old mando songs by adults), original (newly composed mando songs by adults), mando dance (wherein a few will be singing and dancing), and senior citizens (singing).

“For the mando festival, we pay attention to the music, lyrics, singing and dance, and the costume because a specific type of costume is used for mando,” says Noronha, adding that their main target groups are the children and teenagers as they are the ones who are going to preserve it. “We want more of such groups to take part in the festival. Anybody can promote mandos, but it is the youth who has to preserve it,” he says.

This year, 35 groups will take part in the festival wherein in each group has 15 participants. And Noronha says that the organisers have to keep many aspects in mind, for example: space for groups to be at the backstage, the sitting, capacity, sound system, parking availability. Thus, it is being held at Kala Academy for the last 10 years. “We have many new groups this year apart from some old groups as well. What is interesting to see is that all senior citizens have youngsters as their musicians. Thus, besides participating in singing mandos, some youth who are not singing are playing some instruments. So there are youth in all the performances.”

There will be three winners in each category. The winners will be given cash prizes and all the participants will be given a memento and certificate of participation. Besides this, a mando award will be given to the group who has done well overall.

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