Goa today is just a shadow of it’s heady Hippie era. Though one might argue that the tourist destination still exudes a global village vibe what with several travellers selling their creative pieces of work at markets for a few months, the commercialisation is in your face, with never ending parking lots and queues to pass through metal detectors at these venues.
But one man, who still holds on to the free spirit of the state and who believes in the power of music is Goa Gil. American-born musician Goa Gil has been one of the pioneers of the Goa Trance style of music and has taken it to the world with his gigs abroad. “When we first came to Goa in the ’70s, there wasn’t even electricity at Anjuna (a popular beach in north Goa).
We would all gather around a campfire and create music with guitar, drums and flutes. Slowly, we brought down generators and equipment and did a mix of a live band with a DJ. It was only in the ’80s that we had electronic sets,” recalls Gil. He feels that if someone compared India from the time he arrived to today, it is as different as night and day, and Goa which he calls his home has turned from an untouched paradise with hardly any people and hotels to a resort state.
But Gil acknowledges the growth that Electronic music has seen over the years, both internationally and in India. “The music has evolved and has found a commercial footing too. But there still is the whole underground music scene, that is bringing in changes.
What you see publicly is this music which has been digested and made understandable to the masses, making it popular. Goa Trance too evolved like that, the music was from all over the world, but it was our interpretation, our spiritual dialogue that gave birth to it,” he feels.
The city might have seen a spurt in the number of big-ticket DJs performing in the city, but this sexagenarian DJ still draws his loyal set of Psytrance fans. Gil, who also became a sadhu (ascetic), Baba Mangalanand, when he first came to India combines his love for yogic practises and his music, and with this unified effort aims to uplift his audience through a Trance dance experience.