Ballad by the Bauls of Bengal

February 28, 2017

At first glance, these folk singers appear to be lone wolves – each dancing to their own personal drummer.  But in a performance organised by Kala Academy Goa, I learnt otherwise.

There is an organisation and a structure amongst Bauls – there are teachers and students and it is not as if a random person can declare himself a Baul. These mystic minstrels do not have a physical institution the equivalent of the Royal Academy of Music or a fixed progression of examinations to be passed but they definitely have a course of study in the music and the ideology of their group.

Further, this is not just a group of individual dispersed musicians – there is a whole culture associated with  Bauls. Some are ascetic and live by strict rules. Others live with families but remain aloof from society following stricter lives compared to ordinary citizens.

This group from both Hindu Vaishnav and Sufi muslims has even been mentioned in Bengali texts of the 15th century!

Some day I shall meet one and ask him about his life – his thinking, his experiences etc.

In the meanwhile here is something to listen to:

Just a glimpse …

Thanks to Kala Academy Goa for arranging the wonderful musical experiences for everyone to enjoy for FREE!

jm
Feb 2017

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