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Rapsodia Ibero-Indiana: Transoceanic creolization and the mando of Goa

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1636
Number of pages56
JournalMODERN ASIAN STUDIES
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
Accepted/In press2021
PublishedSep 2021

King's Authors

Abstract

The mando is a secular song-and-dance genre of Goa whose archival attestations began in the 1860s. It is still danced today, in staged rather than social settings. Its lyrics are in Konkani, their musical accompaniment combine European and local instruments, and its dancing follows the principles of the nineteenth-century European group dances known as quadrilles, which proliferated in extra-European settings to yield various creolized forms. Using theories of creolization, archival and field research in Goa, and an understanding of quadrille dancing as a social and memorial act, this article presents the mando as a peninsular, Indic, creolized quadrille. It thus offers the first systematic examination of the mando as a nineteenth-century social dance created through processes of creolization that linked the cultural worlds of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans - a manifestation of what early twentieth-century Goan composer Carlos Eugénio Ferreira called a 'rapsodia Ibero-Indiana' ('Ibero-Indian rhapsody'). I investigate the mando's kinetic, performative, musical, and linguistic aspects, its emergence from a creolization of mentalités that commenced with the advent of Christianity in Goa, its relationship to other dances in Goa and across the Indian and Atlantic Ocean worlds, as well as the memory of inter-imperial cultural encounters it performs. I thereby argue for a new understanding of Goa through the processes of transoceanic creolization and their reverberation in the postcolonial present. While demonstrating the heuristic benefit of theories of creolization to the study of peninsular Indic culture, I bring those theories to peninsular India to develop further their standard applications.

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