Learning from Baul Masters: Ekathara Kalari Retreats

 

parvathy

Parvathy Baul is well-known for her masterful solo rendering in the oldest style of Baul song and dance. She sings and dances only with minimal use of Baul instruments like Duggi, Ektara and Nupur, all played at the same time. She inherited this style from the ‘Parampara’- tradition of Shri Sanatan Das Baul (Bankura District, who followed the style of legendary Baul Singer-Practitioner Shri Nitai Khapa), and Shri Shasanko Goshai who left his body at the age of 100 in March 2006. (From the Gurukul of the acclaimed singer-practitioner Shri Vrindavan Goshai and Shri Nityananda Goshai of Mushidabad).  She practiced various disciplines of “painting, print making, theatre, and dance, the art of storytelling with painted pictures and a full time sadhika of Baul.

She is one of the very few women who could withstand the hardships of the practitioner’s way of living.

Since the year 2000, she has been performing in the Villages of West Bengal, Kerala, Malwa and many of the major music festivals in India, Europe, USA, UK, Switzerland, Japan, Morocco, Singapore, Malaysia, Cuba, Uruguay, Australia etc.

Musical instruments: Ektara, Duggi and Nupur

She is the Founder-Director of Ekathara Kalari, and was present at all retreats.

 

debdas-baul

Deb Das Baul was born in a Vaishnab Brahmin Family.

At the age of 10, he started to practise Baul songs from Shri Sudhir Das Baul. At the age of 20, he received his Sadhana Deeksha and special training in singing from Shri Kali Shankar Chatterjee. He was a great singer too. Most Baul songs were taught by Shri Ramanando Das Gosai from the age of 20.

Deb Das Baul have very beautiful style with dance and songs from the Bhirbhum district. He had the fortune of singing in front of Ma Anantha Mai in 1977, and Dalai Lama in 2001.

He has been to Many International festivals of Music in Paris,Switzerland, Germany and London.

Musical instruments: Ektara, Duggi and Nupur

He was part of the December 2014  and January 2017 Retreats.

 

kanai da

Kanai Mondal lost his eyesight at a very early age. At the age of 11, he started Nam Sankeertan: the Vaishnav Singing. At the age of 25, he received very good training in Baul songs from Shri Gyanananda Sadhu. Since 44 years he has lived in Tara peeth, one of the very famous tantric places, and also a Cremation ground. Kanai Mondal sits in one place and sings with his Ektara, and he has a very powerful voice from his inner heart.

He was part of the December 2014 and January 2017 Retreats.

 

shyam da

Shyam Sundar Das Baul is a famous singer in Murshidabad for his scholarship in the Baul songs. He has performed in various Baul festivals in Bengal, as well as many places in India. In 1985, he performed in India festival in Paris and in Moscow, Russia. While performing, Shyam accompanies himself with Anondo Lahari, Ektara and Duggi.

Since childhood, Shyam Sundar Das Baul was brought up in the atmosphere of Baul songs, his father and grandfather both were Baul singers.

He started as a child actor in KrishnaJatra (popular theatre of Bengal, which combines music and dance, tells the story of child Krishna).Later as a mature actor, he acted in the Jatra for some years. The legendary Baul master Shri Shashanko Goshai happened to see his performance2 and he recognized the great possibility of Shyam’s talent. He proposed to shyam’s father to initiate Shayam immediately into the Baul way. His father agreed, and he let his son follow that path of Shri Shashanko Goshai. For many years, he practiced and lived alone with shri Shashanko goshai at his Ashram.

Shyam was initiated into Baul practice by Shri Nityananda Goshai.

He was part of the December 2014 and January 2017 Retreats.

 

 

Madan Das Vairagi Is the son of renowned baul master shri Shashanko Goshai and Banamala Dashi. He learnt Baul songs from his father. He plays anandalahari. Madan Das is very knowledgeable about the baul sadhana and Parampara.  He is a guide and teacher to many. He specialises in the Baul rituals.
She was part of the December 2014 and January 2017 Retreats.

 

 

Shokhi Dashi is his spiritual companion. She took baul initiation at an early age and lived in a baul Ashram with her guru doing seva for many years.  She lives in Murshidabad with Madan Das Vairagya and offers her tireless seva to all Baul devotees.

She was part of the December 2014 and January 2017 Retreats.

 

 

Satyananda Das Baul is known for his rich repertoire of old Baul songs, tradition-based improvisation, and dynamic-delicate dance. He has put melodies to many of Bhaba Pagla’s poems, which have been loved and sung by many other singers as well. His initiation guru (dikshya guru) was Sri Bhagaban Das and his spiritual teacher (sikshya guru, sannyas guru) was Sri Krishnananda Goswami. Right from childhood, he had taken up the path of austere endeavor. He had many gurus of music also. His primary guru of Baul music had been Sri Bhuban mohan Das. He was groomed up by foster mother Radharani Goswami. His “Chaitanya mantra” guru is Sri Haripada Goswami, who is a centenarian mentor and a perfect preceptor towards the “sadhana”. Satyananda travelled and performed widely across India and abroad. He accompanies himself with the instruments ektara, duggi and ghunghur.

He was part of the January 2017 Retreat.

 

lokkhon da

Laxman Das Baul is a disciple and the adopted son of renowned Baul Master and composer Shri Shudhir Goshai of famous Joydev-Tamaltala Ashram in Birbhum Dist. He is a young performer well known for his magnificent and energetic performance2s. He accompanies himself with Anandalahari and Dotara while he sings. He performed in many parts of India. After the demise of Shri Shudhir Goshai, he looks after the Joydev-Tamaltala Ashram. He lives with his wife and son and the Mother (the companion of Shri Shudhir Goshai).Since the last four years, he has been collaborating with Parvathy Baul.

Musical instruments: Dotara and Ananda Lahari

He was part of the December 2014, October 2015 and January 2017 Retreats.

 

biswanath da

Biswanath Das Baul is the son and disciple of Shri Sanatan Das Baul (Bankura District, who followed the style of legendary Baul Singer-Practitioner Shri Nitai Khapa). He looks after the ashram and keeps the traditional life style inherited from his father. He has performed overseas in places such as USA and France.

Musical instrument- Ektara, Duggi, Anandalahari

He was part of the October 2015 Retreat

 

shahjan miah

Shajahan Munshi is a singer and songwriter – he has composed several songs in the folk tradition himself, and he was initiated into the fakir tradition.
in his early childhood due to physical illness, he lost his eyesight. Sahajan Munshi is a Master Dotara and Sarod player. His son Lokman accompanies him with cymbals and percussion instruments. He has regularly performed in Manikganj all his life but his presence in the more established urban music circuit has been since the early 80s.

His International exposure includes a series of concerts in France at the invitation of the French Government in the early 90s.

Recordings:Chants de Baul Shahjahan Munshi (©Inedit, France)Premer Protidan – composition by Samrat Alauddin – in a compilation album ‘Ektaaray Noya Puraan’ (©Ektaar Music 2003)Jaat gelo – by Fakir Lalon Shain – in a compliation album titled Ektaaray Gantha (©Ektaar Music 2005)

He was part of the October 2015 Retreat

 

anondo

Ananda Gopal Das Baul was born into a family of musicians and began at the age of 7 to sing at bus-stops and train-stations, to earn his share of the family´s income. Thanks to many visits to the west, he is familiar with western culture and has made it his duty to make the vital tradition of the Bauls known in the west through his concerts. By founding an ashram, he is also trying to continue the tradition of hospitality in his homeland by offering food to the needy. He has performed widely in India and abroad.

He was part of the January 2016 Retreat

 

munsur

Munsur Fakir was born to Ajahar Fakir and Mahoba Fakiran, who were well known and respected gurus of Fakir parampara. Since he was born to a family of practitioners and grew up in that environment, he started singing and dancing and playing instruments from his early childhood. His parents’ Baul ashram/akhara was visited by many celebrated and well known Baul practitioners, such as Nonibala, Karim Shah, Jhulkhum, Doyal Shah, Azim Shah. His basic training was from his father, but he has also learned from these great masters of Baul and Fakir parampara. As he recalls, his first instrument was made of dry dead palm tree leaves that gave him rythm. He was initiated by Fakir guru Ilaibaks. Munsur Fakir has performed in different ashram mocchabs and city concerts. He was given artist award by the government of West Bengal. The January 2016 Baul Retreat was his first time in Kerala, and in South India.

He was part of the January 2016 Retreat.

The Masters were accompanied by Shreekhol players:

Nitai Chandra Das plays the Shreekhol, Shreekhol is a divine instrument designed by Shri Chaitanya inspired by Mridangam, Shree Khol is too like Mridangam, made of clay, Shreekhol’s sound reminds us of pure Bhakti.

Nabin is a Shreekhol player, and he learnt to play this instrument since his childhood. He accompanies Kanai Da and assists him for many years.