It all began with this experiment called ‘Mandd Sobhann’ – a search for a Konkani identity in Konkani music. Literally, ‘Mandd’ means stage and ‘Sobhann’ means beautiful programme. In short, ‘Mandd Sobhann’ means - beautiful stage. The first Mandd Sobhann experiment unfolded on the lawns of Hotel Woodlands, Mangalore on November 30, 1986. This date is regarded as the day on which Mandd Sobhann - the musical experiment, Mandd Sobhann – was born.
Konkani music (other than folk music), then, and even now, could broadly be divided into 2 categories-
1. Based on Indian (Classical) music – among the Hindus (mainly Saraswats and Gaud Saraswats);
2. Based on Western music – among Catholics.
Until Mandd Sobhann came on the scene, the concept of identity of Konkani as a culture or in music was never proposed. In that sense, Mandd Sobhann triggered the opening of the floodgates of ‘Konkani-identity-consciousness’. The concept of Mandd Sobhann also came as a shock to the status-quo-loving, conservative Mangalorean Konkani Catholic Community. It also rattled the established music makers. On the other hand, Mandd Sobhann came as a welcome relief to music lovers, poetry enthusiasts and above all, it was able to build bridges between the various dialects, communities and regions, as all Konkanis began to identify Mandd Sobhann music as their own. Bab Eric Ozario, the music composer and the chief proponent of this and all other experiments of Mandd Sobhann, set to tune, lyrics written by poets of different communities and regions and presented them through Mandd Sobhann. In a sense, Mandd Sobhann broke not only conventions but also community barriers. No wonder therefore, that Mandd Sobhann (the musical performance) was presented 12 times in the first 2 years in Goa, captured the attention of the media while at the same time inviting the wrath and ire of the conventionalists.
What began as a performance titled ‘Mandd Sobhann’, grew into a movement of revival and rejuvenation of Konkani culture; and solidified into an organization called Mandd Sobhann. Today, Mandd Sobhann boasts of all these 3 identities namely - a performance, a movement and an organization.