Goan Folk Art – Mando

Goan Folk Art is famous all over the world even many of the Indian film songs are composed on the Goan folk arts, there are various folk arts exists in Goa some of them are getting extinct due various reasons, in the coming issues we will cover many such Goan folk arts and try to create the awareness. Mando is one such folk art which is a musical form that evolved during the 19th and 20th century among Goan Catholics of Goa, India. It represents the meeting point of Indian and western musical traditions. The music has elements of both Indian and western culture. The males wear formal coats, showing Portuguese influence, while females wear a unique Indian costume (bazu torop or pano baju). The ceremonial torhop-baz worn during the mando dance was of velvet or silk, red, blue or green in colour, embroidered with gold (rarely with silver) threads. A white or blue shawl was worn. The socks had to be white and the slippers ornamented. This was all graced with a fan, which enhanced the lady’s mood with a secret charm during the dance.Now adays mandos are highlighted with their dance respective of their song. The plural of manddo in Konkani is mande.The major theme of mandos is love, the minor ones being historical narratives, grievance against exploitation and social injustice, and political resistance during the Portuguese presence in Goa. With grace in voice charm in costumes the performances are enhanced.


The accent in Konkani is almost always on the last syllable. The dialect used in the classical mandos is the Bambonn Saxtti of Salcete, particularly as spoken in the villages of Benaulim, Curtorim, Loutolim, Chinchinim, Assolna, Betul,Velim, Cuncolim, Navelim and Raia, where most of them originated. It is the most musical of the Konkani dialects with its consistent use of elisions. One of the characteristics of this dialect is that words are stretched out in pronunciation with the addition of an extra vowel sound either in the middle of the words or at the end epenthesis. Thus the word dista (saw) is lengthened to disota and sanddlear into sanddilear. The suffixes –i and –o are commonly used to add an extra syllable to a line. Thus larar (waves)  becomes larari and neketr (stars) becomes neketro. The full sound -o- is softened in this dialect. Thus roddonk becomes roddunk, mozo becomes muzo. The possessive pronouns in the mando have the Salcete form, as tugel´lem for tujem, mugel´lem for mujem or mojem. Shorter forms are derived when the music needs to cut off a syllable, e.g. tuj´ kodden (koddem) instead of tuje koddem and mak´ naka instead of maka naka. Not only the phonetics correspond to the Salcete dialect but also words like masoli (masli) for “fish” instead of nishtem, e.g. “Dongrari fulo nam, doriant masli pun nam”. The Brahmins address a girl or a woman with “rê” instead of “gô” and use the pronoun “ti” instead of “tem”.

The mando is mostly a monologue, in the first person singular or plural, except for the historical narratives. In some mandos, however, one person addresses another, who in turn replies. Singing is accompanied by gentle turning sideways to the rhythm, thus creating both a visual and auditory performance. The first mando is thought to have been written down around 1840. However this beautiful form of singing has a tradition which can be traced back much further than that. Although the mando cannot strictly be classified as traditional folk song form; it has been established in Goa for many a year.



The mando is very popular among the Christian community in Goa. In the grandest of traditions, the mando-singer was invited specially on occasion of a wedding or some grand celebration. There he would often compose special mandos in honour of the bridal couple, whose qualities were described in detail in the mando.

Expert musicologists opine that the dhulpad, a part of the mando, with a very quick tempo, came into general use first and the mando with the medium tempo later. The dhulpad was sung simply as a relaxation to the sole accompaniment of the ghumat (traditional Goan percussion instrument); the violin and the guitar which are now regular components were incorporated later.

The dhulpad has its roots in Goan folk music and the mando as a whole has evolved and developed from these traditional folk music roots. The mando-dhulpad singing thus has the original nature of folk songs from Goa but has evolved with the music brought by the Portuguese.

The lovely mixture of Goan folk music and Church music that makes up the mando is still very popular in Goa. There is a special Mando festival held every year which attracts a large number of entries from all over the state along with appreciating audiences

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