ARAMBOL I LOVE YOU; Musicians, Eccentrics and Hippies
October 21, 2020
Arambol, Goa is a traditional fisherman village, located approximately a 90 minutes drive from Dabolim Airport (GOI) within the Pernem administrative region of North Goa, India. The beach attracts many international tourists, mainly during the winter season between November and March. Arambol beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa, bordering Keri Beach to the north and Mandrem Beach to the south. Located 43 km north of Goa’s capital city of Panaji, Arambol has a population of around 5,300.
Arambol is also my hippie happy place.
When I first ever arrived in Arambol, I was totally blown away. There are hippies everywhere and the atmosphere is heavy with hippie happiness. The place abounds with yoga centres, vegan cafes, meditation cafes, live music venues and beach clubs.
On the beach itself there is a hippie market selling trinkets and artwork, jewellery, crystals and Hindu statues. There are hippies everywhere dancing, juggling fire sticks, singing and dancing and enjoying the surf.
Orange robed Hari Krishna devotees sing and dance to the chant ‘Hari Krishna, Hari Ram’. People sit in drum circles enjoying a jam whilst others sit playing all kinds of instruments; its a very musical place.
Finding cheap accommodation is easy and once you are settled in you can enjoy a walk along the cliff top market. The market sells hippie clothing of all kinds and you find yourself spoilt for choice.
Its nice to sit at a cliff top cafe and enjoy a Kingfisher Beer whilst looking out on what is one of the most beautiful beaches in Goa.
Perhaps a little ‘smoke’ will help you feel the vibe and chill out.
Walking out off of the cliffs you find yourself in the main market. More hippie clothing stalls mixed in with yoga studios, art galleries and vegan cafes. There is a wonderful cafe in Arambol called the Hidden Garden of Dreams. The vibe is amazing and the food is great. You will be entertained by some fantastic live music whilst meeting new hippie friends.
After a nice rest back at you accommodation its time to get ready for what the evening has in store.
This always starts with the beach. All the hippies gather for the sunset and there is so much going on all around you as you sit with a beer watching this natural spender. The sunset in Goa is like no other. It feels like a sunset party and you cannot help but feel elated as the sky turns a deep orange.
Then the crowd starts to disperse, its time for dinner and that means my favourite activity in Arambol; watching live music.
There are hundreds of bars, clubs and restaurants to choose from in Arambol; all along the beach at the many beach shacks, as well as all around the main market and on the cliff top. My favourite is the ‘This Is It Bar’ on the cliffs.
There are plenty of clubs along the beach and I have enjoyed a dance many a night in Arambol but the live music scene wins hands down for me.
Every place you go musicians from all over the world perform for just a few Rupees which they collect in a bucket. You can hear so many types of world music, not only Indian and its fantastic. You sit eating your dinner and enjoy some of the best music anywhere. But its not about the money for these talented people, they come to Arambol every season to meet other musicians and to play together.; its about the experience, the joyful feeling.
The travelling musicians of Arambol deserve a story all to themselves, so here are a couple of articles to explain more.
Music is one of the main reasons why Arambol is such a special place. Arambol Musicians start flocking to town from all over the world in November and usually stays for the whole season, bringing a massive amount of energy and creativity.
In a whole life of traveling, I have never seen such a flourishing music scene. Not even close.
Arambol Musicians not only play their music: they start new projects, explore styles and original mixes between genres. They join the Arambol Open Mic to participate the vibe here. In Arambol you can easily listen to Irish folk mixed to a gypsy melody, electronic looping with traditional Indian instruments, meditative mantras hip-hop. The sky is the limit.
In Arambol streets, during high-seasons, there are more musicians than cows. And we are talking about India!
Everybody is playing an instrument here. Some are doing covers, but many have their original music.
You can meet Arambol musicians virtually anywhere here. Have a chai in Arcan bar on a sunny afternoon, and you will hear them jamming on a new song or rehearsing for the upcoming gig. You can listen to them at Arambol beach at sunset, playing alone in front of the Ocean or singing aside of the drum circle. You can visit Arambol Carnival in February and see them all, performing together in a blast of wild happiness and positive vibe.
Some Arambol musicians also perform off-season, in Europe, US, Asia; some others just play here and do something entirely different when they are back in “The Matrix.” Some make good money out of it, while some other can barely survive. Some are young and willing to make a whole life out of their music; some others are in the autumn of their lives and just want to share happiness and good vibes.
Arambol musicians: who are they?
Although there are Thousands of musicians in Arambol, some of them make the difference. The reasons are many, and tradition is one. Because, you know, some of them have been coming since the Seventies! And yes, they were hippies living naked at the beach. Now, some of those old-timers are living legends in Arambol and still perform.
Who am I talking about? Let’s see, check out this essential list of the Arambol Musicians.
Attila, the legend
Attila came to Arambol in the earliest times. He is a rock star here. He is a solid acoustic bass player and performs with the psychedelic rock band: The Saints & The Fouls. You can see him during the min season in Arambol at Fellini or Revolutions. And yes, it’s true: he often strips naked during his concerts.
“Uncle” John, the soul
John Paris is a bright light that shines in Arambol beach since 1965. An Englishman who sings his music with an accordion to almost all open mics here. How is he? In a word: amazing. His simple songs all talk about love, life and how precious they are. When he starts singing all the community here stops and sing along. All Arambol musicians love him.
Anthony McKeon, the heart
Irishman in his 40s, Anthony is the rising star in the Arambol music scene. With his band, The Tantric Monkeys, he sings about pain, life experiences, traveling. Buy he got famous because of one song in particular. It is called Arambol and quickly became a sort of anthem here, sung everywhere by everyone.
Anthony is also the MC of the most loved Arambol open mic, which happens every Monday evening in Twice in Nature.
Sissi Perlinger, the comedian
Sissi is another rising star in Arambol. She is a well known German comedian who decided a few years ago to spend most winter seasons in Arambol. Her shows are a unique combination of creativity, humor, and intelligence. Sissi will make you laugh at loud and think at the same time.
As told, Arambol musicians are many. This preliminary list is not comprehensive. I will add names as soon as I have time.
Arambol – music, festivals, scooters and sādhu
Cattle ruminate peacefully on the beach in between the tourists, while just beyond the girls playing volleyball a group of students is practising the graceful movements of Tai Chi, and further on a yogi is practising meditation off on his own. There is an atmosphere of peace and open-minded acceptance in this place, and music and smiles can be found everywhere. Arambol is unique.
Loekies Café on the beach road has been around for a while. This legendary venue is a magnet for the many traveling musicians that somehow find their way to Arambol, and they host an open mic stage on a regular basis. Being music lovers, we stopped in more than once, and we were not disappointed. We watched people from all over the globe go up on stage, albeit that some were far more memorable than others, and although we didn’t always understand the lyrics, it didn’t matter at all. It was great fun. Estas, the gypsy guitarist blew our minds with his skill. Others played the ukulele, tabla or sitar. Then came a marvel from Venezuela (I missed her name) on a little four-stringed “cuatro”, who performed an Ode to La Luna that made every nerve in my body tingle. Her performance seemed to channel some sublime energy current from the moon itself and filled the place with serenity and awe. As she began to sing I watched the faces of the audience turn in wonder and a hush fell over the crowd as we all sat there, mesmerized.
Getting around in Goa is easy and cheap on a scooter, and relatively safe, provided of course that you’re not afraid of India style traffic negotiation and that you have some finely tuned spidey-senses. While the back roads are idyllic and the scenery is magnificent, venture onto the highway at your own risk.
With a heavy heart we left our friends in Arambol behind, but ahead lay many more adventures. Where would be end up next?
Arambol, Goa the secret village the hippies never shared with you
Arambol in the north of Goa discovered in the 1960’s by the hippies looking to escape the fading flower power of the west. The town has since evolve into the Bohemians community favourite spot.
Arambol is my special place, my happy place.
It is a musical, hippie, heaven.