Folk music is a vital window to a group of people, their values, culture and roots. This universal meaning of folk has become the take-off point for a set of professionals living in New Delhi fittingly called Roots. Their aim: to crack the cordon of language and draw out the message of love and brotherhood conveyed by folk songs and help people bond. The bridging medium is English, “a language,” says Kishore Das, the brain behind the initiative, “that helps to connect better with more and more people.” Formed last August, Roots is just one show old. A self-financed group with members being working professionals, Das is clear that the initiative has to match their pace. But the aim can't be compromised. “We believe that folk music gives a message to people. We want to present these messages to people outside a particular region in a language they can understand and highlight the fact that we are the same people everywhere.”

With their roots in Northeast India, their shows will showcase more of the region. And because the members are die hard fans of Bhupen Hazarika, his songs have become their starting point. This Sunday is yet another tribute to Hazarika. Das explains, “A set of singers (some from Assam) will present Bhupenda's songs that talk of humanity.” Each number will have an English translation and a video.

The songs will be in Hindi, Bengali and Assamese; the languages that Hazarika sang. “There will be a song in Nagamese too composed by Bhupenda,” adds Das. The two-hour show will have instrumental music too and Das will contribute his bit by playing the mandolin.

Next in line is Hills and Valleys, a programme that will showcase folk songs and tunes from the hills of Kashmir to Himachal Pradesh to the North East. The valley music section will be pan-India. “We will try to feature those folk tunes and songs that have not received much exposure,” he underlines.

Bottomline: A way to broadcast the message of love and brotherhood in folk songs.

An Evening of Timeless Songs of Bhupen Hazarika; Stein Auditorium, India Habitat Centre New Delhi, April 15, 7.15 onwards, Entry free

Keywords: Folk music