Preview of Parvathy Baul's performance at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco.
Sixteen years ago when two Muslim scholars decided to start an inter-faith music festival to promote peace, few would have foreseen a day when an itinerant Baul singer from India would participate in this confluence of divine music. Parvathy Baul calls her offering at the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco: “The poetry of divine fools.”
Seamlessness of faiths
The other Indian presence at the event is Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia who will render morning ragas on the flute. That week, the Batha Museum in Fes will become a symbol of the seamlessness of faiths when Sufi, Islam, Sephardic, medieval Christian expression and Gospel music wafts in the air.
On the eve of her departure, Parvathy Baul entranced listeners at the Vylopilly Samskriti Bhavan, Thiruvananthapuram, with songs which were truly representative of the underlying philosophy of the Baul. “The major thrust at the festival is integration and assimilation of faiths. There are others who will sing of integration of religions. Keeping the acoustic-performance in mind, I chose to focus on Divine love,” says this disciple of Sanatana Das and Sasanka Gosai.
The Supreme became the frivolous companion, the guide and the ultimate in ‘She je ek rasik pagal’ (He's a frolicsome consort), ‘Jaler niche paa dubobi na’ (Don't wet your foot) and in ‘Aamar aaka baka lokti ke tumi dekhecho’ (Have you seen the man I'm looking for?). The inner search for the real and the meaning of life and death she communicated with the rendering of ‘Janamo marano’ (Life and death) and Lalaan Fakir's ‘Nigoodh prem’ (Secret love).
The sacred is also secular for the Baul, and therefore the lyrics of the songs had frequent references to the pantheon of Hindu gods as well as those from other beliefs.
Soumya Chakrabarty's narration and mellifluous music that flowed from Raghunathan's flute, plus the dotata and the khamak by Lakshman Das Baul added charm to the evening.