WEST BENGAL Baul Geet
The Bauls are mystic minstrels hailing from West Bengal and parts of Bangladesh. Bauls have a
pantheistic culture, following a set of rituals that are not bound by religion as we understand it.
Their spiritual practices can be said to be a mix of Sufism, Vaishnavism and Buddhism.
There are two kinds of Bauls: ascetic Bauls, those who have renounced social ties and live a nomadic
existence, and those who have family and live with less stringent rules than the ascetics. Because
their influence in Bengali culture has historically been extraordinarily strong and distinctive, the Baul
tradition has been inscribed under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Baul Music is an oral tradition, which represents a long heritage of preaching
mysticism through songs. Traditionally, the songs of the Bauls describe and celebrate
celestial love and a longing for unity with the Divine. Many metaphysical concepts are
explored in an easily understood manner. Baul singers usually accompany themselves
with the Ektara, a single-stringed gourd instrument. There are a number of other
instruments used to accompany the singing such as the Dhol, Khol, Ghungroo, and
Khartal, the Dotara and the flute.
Rina Das is an exceptional Baul singer based in Paruldanga, Shantiniketan, West
Bengal. She followed the family tradition and started learning Baul music from her
grandfather when she was a child. She was also trained in Baul music from her
husband Dibakar Das. and has performed extensively. She has received several
accolades for her representation of Baul culture.
The song you hear is called "Kanuro Piriti.” It describes the eternal love of Radha and Krishna and is written by one of the famous poets, Chandidas of Nanoor, Birbhum. Here Radha is describing their relationship as a piece of sandalwood - the more you rub it, the more fragrance it gives. The lyrical content of Baul songs always makes use of metaphors. Here the love between Radha and Krishna is used as a metaphor to describe the individual Soul’s mystical yearning for the Universal Soul.
Song - KANURO PIRITI
- Voice, Ektara, Dugi, Ghungroo - Rina Das Baul
- Special Thanks to Banglanatak Dot Com