Life artists, visionaries and dancing figures
After four years, we enjoy Arambol Goa in 2015 for the first time again: The Mecca of artists, cultural creatives, dropouts and reality-inventors. How do we feel today? Is the charm still there? Has there been a decline? Is it worth a visit?
The accumulation of artists in this small town in the north of Goa is exceptional. At every corner you see musicians, jugglers, fire artists, dancers, or painters. Additionally there is a big variety of yoga, meditation, lectures, dance lessons, Ayurvedic healing, music lessons. All of this is concentrated in a village with very modest infrastructure. There are no big hotels, no Clubs Med, no big offers for tourists. Sometimes the place is overloaded, and waste disposal is a problem. On weekends large groups of Indian tourists converge at the beach. They play cricket, splash in the water, have fun.
Many independent spirits have found their way to Arambol. Some are artists of life, enjoy their abundance outside the mainstream. These insiders come every year and spend three to six months at their favorite place.
Many of them work hard: they run a dance school, work professionally as a musician or artist, organize the carnival, moderate evenings with open mic or engage in some other way. I give them the title of „Arambol-Life-Artists“.
This video shows the dancer Jiva during a performance. Perhaps only visible for Facebook users …
One Life-Artist is Nico. We met him five years ago during our first stay. I produced then a film about „Happiness in Arambol,“ and Nico opened the doors to many friends I was able to interview. I visited Jiva and Ying in the „Temple of Dance“, I spoke with the poet and philosopher Prana, I met the Indian philosopher and Ayurvedic doctor Dr. Jolly.
Nico is a poet, percussionist and animator. He recently published his first book of poems: The Attitude of Gratitude. He animated for many years the Open Stage in Dylan’s Café and motivated beginners and advanced students to show their best. Guitarists, vocalists, poets, philosophers, violinists and Schubert interpreters pass after about 10 minutes the microphone to the next performer. Nico introduces the people. Sometimes he brings people on stage who never performed before.
For 14 years, the man from Boston spends each winter in his Om sweet Om – always engaged, always visionary, always passionate.
Spontaneous jam session in Dylan’s Cafe:
The crowd in Arambol can sometimes make you hold your breath: The Rastas might be the longest in the world, you see wild guys on large bikes (Royal Enfield), and female beauties from around the world in imaginative costumes. Indians, Russians, Swedes, German, American, Lebanese, Dutch, British, Thai, Swiss and many other nationalities contribute to the color of the place.
Every evening, on a particular point of the beach, many people gather for the Sunset Celebration. That was true five years ago, and it still is. The singing circle is my favorite event. On some rickety deck chairs 20 to 40 people celebrate singing. Anbho from Sweden has a large repertoire of Bajahns, mantras and sing-along songs. He is the center of the circle. For more than two months, he comes every day and leads the group for about two hours. Other instrumentalists enrich the circle: A guitar, a djembe, my Irish flute, and rhythm instruments. Between the verses, instrumental solos are presented frequently.
Often Nico stands in the center and recites some of his poems to the sound of guitars, flutes and drums. Recently there were about 10 Indians in the dark outside the circle, and he motivated them to dance and sing. They did! The whole circle and the bystanders vibrated with his poem „This is the day.“
Here is the first verse:
This is the day you shake off the dust
This is the day you say I must
This is the day you’ve been dreaming of
This is the day you say yes to love.
Nico reports in his book that he „he sings this poem with audiences around the world.“
This we did, and everyone sang cheerfully „This is the day“, Nico adding the rest of the line. We believed it! It was the day of liberation, and today this is the day again! Believe me!
The poem became reality for this group of about 35 people.
Once you read this text: Sing it, drum it, dance it, and above all, live it!
I could go on forever talking about all the music evenings, dance performances, the special Carnival and the many independent spirits. About Ying, the Thai woman who manages the Temple of Dance and organizes huge presentations every year. About Jiva, the Russian, graceful, passionate dancer. About the drum circle at sunset. About the good and cheap food. About the dust, about seeking souls. About hot days and sometimes murky water. About the freshwater lake and the holy hill.
Under the aspect of the search for the lost paradise, Arambol is a find. There is no searching, but finding. There is celebration. The increased vibration can be felt everywhere. It is an organism, inspired from bottom to top by Arambol-Life-Artists. No guru, no organization, but spontaneous expression and giving. This is fun.
So I can answer the initial questions: We feel very comfortable. There is no decline. The charm is there. It is well worth a visit – for life-artists.
Video at sunset with the stilt-artists:
Actual photos of the magic carnival on 9th February:
Some photos z.T. from previous years: