New Delhi: Art, performance and regional integration merge in the folk music of Parvathy Baul, one of the country's top Baul musicians from Bengal, who balances her training as an artist from Santiniketan's Kala Bhavan with the devotional music of the wandering minstrels that she has carried down south to Kerala. Parvathy has found the true meaning of her music and life as a Baul bard under her guru, Muslim fakir kalandar Abdul Salam, in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram. "Abdul Salam has taught me the spiritual meaning of Baul music while my mentor in Bengal, Sanatan Das Baul of Bankura, showed me the way to sing early in life," Parvathy told IANS after a performance in the capital.
A Bengali Brahmin by birth, 36-year-old Parvathy bridges the cultural divide between southern India and Bengal with her traditional folk music that draws its sustenance from Birbhum district, described as the land of red earth and sonorous bards who sing their freedom ditties in villages along the banks of the Ajay river to invoke the divine. Parvathy's world, however, stretches beyond the idyllic confines of rural Bengal like the illustrious pioneers Rabindranath Tagore, Kshiti Mohan Sen, Purna Das Baul and Pavan Das Baul, the faces of Baul music outside India.
The musician, who has been living in Kerala for the last 15 years, performs live in remote villages of Kerala, where ordinary villagers host her at soirees, she says. Parvathy is married to Ravi Gopalan Nair, a theatre activist and spiritualist.
01:38 PM, Nov 09, 2012