‘Baila’ means ‘Dance’ in Portugese and is understood as such by the Latinos of Europe and Latin America. To the Sri Lankans, Mauritians and the Konkanis, ‘Baila’ is the name of a beat, in fact, the most popular beat in their music. The term ‘Baila’ is a part of their Portugese legacy.
Among the Konkanis, until 1988 the term ‘Baila’ was hardly known. What is known as ‘Baila’ today, was known as ‘Polka’ until then. ‘Polka’, named after a similar beat of 6/8 time signature in Western music. The ‘Polka’ beat (uddto tall) was very similar to the Konkani folk ‘Dulpod’ beat played on their ‘Gumott’ (a folk percussion instrument). When Brass bands played the ‘Polka’, wedding pendals reverberated with the exuberance and joy of the dance that accompanied it – a dance that the Konkanis could dance naturally. A dance which was the true and natural expression of their joy. However, with the increasing influence of the English language, western music and western fashions, and the resultant loss of self respect, the polka dance began to be referred to as ‘country’ dance and considered unfit to be danced at respectable gatherings, unlike western dances.
Mandd Sobhann, (established in 1986 with sole objective of preserving, promoting and enriching Konkani culture and ensuring the transmission of the Konkani heritage to future gernerations), with a view to revive the neglected and the dying Konkani dance-form and redeem for it the respectability it once commanded and truly deserved, renamed ‘polka’ as ‘Baila’ and gave it centre-stage. In 1988 Mandd Sobhann organized ‘The World’s First Baila Show’ and ‘Baila Dance Contest’, in a big way – big sound, big orchestra, big audience, big prizes. And thus, the traditional Konkani dance-form was resurrected. Today baila is here to stay. No party is today complete without singing & dancing the baila. Baila today, undoubtedly, is the most popular music and dance of the Konkanis, young and old. Baila is popularly known as the ‘Bhangra’ of the south. Baila, is Mandd Sobhann’s most popular experiment and Mandd Sobhann is bent upon taking Baila to the center-stage of World music!
BAILA has all qualifications and credentials to adorn world's centre stage - a) enchanting music n exuberant beat; b) its own ethnic costumes n ornaments c) specific n exclusive steps n moves - therefore, if Baila is promoted n popularised at the world level, nothing can stop Baila adorning world's centre stage. If Bhangra can do it, so can Baila!
Towards this goal, Mandd Sobhann is organising a 'Baila Workshop' on Sunday, Dec 20th, at Kalaangann. Then everyone around the world are invited to participate in the Baila Video Challenge.
THE HOPE BAILA SHOW:
In the meantime, on Sun, Jan 27, 2019, Mandd Sobhann is presenting the 95th Baila Show - the Hope Baila Show, organised by Alfred Bennis, the master organiser.
The show will have 22 famous singers, 9 accomplished musicians, 15 Baila dancers & a compere - performing. It's a rare Baila treat - ADMISSION FREE!