20 July 2008
The First Hippie in Goa (Pre-History of Trance)
Goa is a main tourist destination in India. But it also is an important global center for the counterculture, now in the digital stage of techno "trance parties". There is much to say about contemporary Goa, counterculture and globalization. But how did the Goa scene actually start?
In the late 1960s, a handful of beatniks and hippies were traveling, overland, from Western Europe toward Southern Asia. They came on bikes, beetles and "magic buses". They entered India, and almost incidentally reached Goa, a former Portuguese enclave on the west coast of India.
By the Arabian Sea, they gathered on the secluded palm-lined beaches of Anjuna and Vagator. These were modest fishermen villages with no urban infrastructure, let alone tourist facilities. Precarious roads led to the place, linking the state capital Panaji, to Mapusa town, and then to Anjuna. As more Westerners spread out across the continent, the New Year's Eve in Goa began to work as the meeting-point for the countercultural diaspora.
The "first hippie" of that movement is now 84 years old. Eight Finger Eddie, an American expat of Armenian ancestry, still lives in Goa. His friends have set up a website for him. It compiles his autobiographical memories, in text and podcast format. I find the podcast "Anjuna 26 Feb 2007" to be particularly insightful. In typical Goa freak story-telling fashion, Eddie exposes his life trajectory in detail. Recorded at his house, it lasts two hours. As he speaks, you also listen to common background noises of northern Goa...
This is the pre-history of Goa trance counterculture. Forget about big DJ and hearsay stories. Listen carefully to Eddie's firsthand account. It will take you to a fantastic world of travel and self-exploration... (podcast).
Are 1960s hippies the same as 2000s trance freaks? Leave your comment below.