PARVATHY BAUL and her group of Baul musicians mesmerised the listenersIt was an enchanting ride through song and dance of another time as Parvathy Baul and her group performed to a packed audience at Vylloppilly Samskriti Bhavan. audience. Parvathy Baul played the ektara; one of the many homemade instruments. The ektara is a single-string instrument that denotes a single ray of the sun or the spinal cord, says Parvathy. Bidut Rajbongshi provided percussion and later played the Shreekol. Shyam Sundar Das Baul played the Ananda Lahari and along with Parvathy sang on the unconditional love of Radha and Krishna and of the route to liberation through sadhana to escape from the endless cycle of birth and death.The tradition of Baul music goes back many centuries. True devotion through unconditional love and freedom from earthly bondages form the theme of most the poems. Radha and Krishna are celebrated in Baul songs.
Distinct musicThe artistes can be recognised by their distinct clothing and musical instruments. In 2005, UNESCO included Baul tradition in the list of `Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.' Parvathy Baul is one of the few practising female Bauls and her voice lent added charm to the performance. The songs picked up tempo as Narayan Chandra Adhikari joined the other artistes while strumming the Dotara, a folk stringed instrument. The group danced to the rhythmic beat of their heavy anklets as they sang. The two turbaned men took centre stage briefly while the next song, again on divine love, led Parvathy to circle the stage, as if in a trance, like a whirling dervish. Organised by Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum, the concert is part of the institution's mission to bring many more artistes practising different art forms to the city. "It would be a mistake to disconnect ourselves from the environment in which we stay. Parvathy Baul and her group are committed artistes and as Baul music is not very popular in Kerala it is only right that we include this folk tradition from West Bengal as part of our aim to promote different cultures from all corners of India and the world," says Jose-Marie Cortes, director of the Alliance Francaise de Trivandrum.
SAJINI V. SAHADEVAN