Why we need to nurture folk music?

Sufi folk singer Mooralala Marwada

Sufi folk singer Mooralala Marwada | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

A melodic journey is undertaken by folk artistes, a journey that carries the sounds and intricacies of our shared oral histories and musical heritage. With time, folk music has evolved, adapted and woven itself into the fabric of our contemporary realities, and yet it has remained mostly truthful to its raw roots and natural essence, evoking intense emotions in the hearts of listeners and moving us with its enchanting spirit. Travelling between a range of genres, for folk artistes, this cherished craft is a form of expression. At times, this music becomes a symbol of one’s identity and transforms into a medium that has the power to vocalise the adoration that artistes possess for their community, land, traditions and history.

Timelessness defines this exquisite form of art. Be it devotional odes, the pain of separation, the art of ornamentation, or a passionate tryst, folk music celebrates the multiple layers of human emotion and often transcends linguistic and cultural barriers, forming a deep connection with our innermost feelings.

Space for artistes

But what remains crucial to the survival of this exemplary art form is its representation in popular culture through the platforming of artistes, who carry forth the legacy of their traditions and are responsible for keeping folk music alive, transmitting its knowledge and passing down techniques through generations. It is our responsibility to curate inclusive spaces for folk artistes and their craft.

An initiative by Teamwork Arts, I Believe Art Matters, champions the cause of the artistes, by not only providing them a stage but also the resources that are vital to sustain their survival. This year, Art Matters has launched its folk edition, bringing to the limelight a set of excellent artistes from different states in India.

Baul artiste Kanai Das

Baul artiste Kanai Das | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

There is a sense of memory and nostalgia associated with folk music — tales of yore and forgotten stories are told and retold. It is important to keep this musical form alive even in these modern times. In folk music, the artistes seek and express their own stories and it is important to give them opportunities to continue to do so. These songs and instruments that are performed across the length and breadth of India bring us closer to our culture, and are also euphonious reminders, prompting us to preserve this form of intangible heritage and make us remember: folk matters, folks!

The writer is a well-known violinist, composer and conductor.

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Printable version | Aug 8, 2022 4:30:18 pm |