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barend

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Reply with quote  #1 
In the documentary from the Nikhil Banerjee DVD he is playing a short folksong from bengal, a Baul....he has also recorded a few of these Bauls....I like these pieces a lot....

does anyone has more information on the Baul (structure, common raag on which these piece are based etc.)?
Or maybe some links to sites about this topic.

I think in this documentary the Baul is based on Pahadi, but is has both shudha Ni and Komal Ni, but I read in Bhatkande that in bengal they also use komal Ni in Pahadi.....it is also close to Khamaj.....I am not 100% sure thought about pahadi though....I know these pieces don't follow the strict raga rules, but are loosely based on a raga.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #2 
Baul music per se, is not based on rag. Baul melodies are folk tunes and there's no unifying formal structure to their music. It's all over the map. Many conservative types have borrowed Baul tunes and adapted them as popular music by introducing light classical elements. The Bauls are the original Ur Hippies - tho much more interesting musically. I have a huge collection of their music. I recently recorded two live CDs with Babukishan Baul son of Purnadas Baul. Good Baul music is hard to find on CD - but worth looking for. It's wild earthy stuff.
Cheers,
Keshav
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #3 
hello,

on a slightly different topic but in the same vein-

ive heard Pt. Krishna Bhatt is doing wonderful things with Rajasthani folk songs including extrapolating a few ragas from their structure. has anyone heard this? i'd love to get a recording of it. i don't know too much about Rajasthani folk songs, but i'd love to hear them!

jf

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neela sangeeta

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Reply with quote  #4 
Krishna Ji does a lot of research on Rajastani folk music. His rendition of Raga Mand (based on the Rajastani folk style of the same name) is the bomb. He also plays with folk musicians and curates folk festivals. I have some recordings of him playing with folk musicians at a festival last year.

Neel
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David Fahrner

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Reply with quote  #5 
Are we talking about the same Bauls as the brothers Luxman and Purna Das, standing next to Bob Dylan on the cover of the "John Wesley Harding" album? See Levon Helm's book "This Wheel's On Fire", pages 157-158, for more details...

df

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David Fahrner
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barend

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Reply with quote  #6 
Is there no info on which tones (or scales) are typical for a Baul piece?

I know it is not a raga but it seems to sound a lot like Pahadi when NB plays these melodies.
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "David
Are we talking about the same Bauls as the brothers Luxman and Purna Das, standing next to Bob Dylan on the cover of the "John Wesley Harding" album? See Levon Helm's book "This Wheel's On Fire", pages 157-158, for more details...

df
Yep. Babukishan Baul who I recorded the two live CDs with is the son of the very same Purnadas Baul you refer to. Right after we did the shows in New York - Babu-ji took the bus up to Woodstock and played several shows with remaining members of The Band. He recorded a new CD in Levon Helm's studio while he was there. If you visit this address and flip through the pictures you can see a photo of him playing a concert at the shop. http://www.keshav-music.com/artisans.htm
Cheers,
Keshav
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David Fahrner

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Reply with quote  #8 
(Here's what Levon Helm had to say about the Bauls in his book "This Wheel's On Fire". I don't think he'd mind this being posted, in fact he'd probably get a kick out of being quoted on an Indian Classical Music forum.)

There was another recording session in our basement around this time. The Bauls of Bengal were a family of itinerant street troubadours that Albert Grossman had met on a visit to India. These Bauls and their late father had played for him all night in Calcutta, so Albert invited them to Bearsville. They were put up in an apartment he reserved for guests in a converted barn down the road from Albert's house. They were real gypsies and real players, happy to get high and sing all night about rivers and goddesses and play their tablas, harmonium, and fiddles. They eventually made an album and even opened for Paul Butterfield - by then living in Woodstock and a client of Albert's - at Town Hall in New York city. I remember Butterfield laughing about that show, because these crazy Bauls sat down and played for three hours, and Paul said that Albert was very upset.

Anyway, we invited 'em to Big Pink one night. The Bauls had long black hair braided to the waist and were wearing cowboy hats they'd picked up on the drive east from California, where they'd arrived direct from Bengal. (Before heading east in a beat-up old van, they'd played the Filmore West on a bill with the Byrds.) They loved the bubbling beer sign over our fireplace, and I played checkers with some of 'em, and we were laughing pretty hard. I was smoking a chillum with Luxman Das, and I said, "Man, that's some good weed."

He smiled and said, "Very good, but nothing like my father used to smoke - little hashish, little tobacco, little head of snake."

I said, "Wait a minute. Did you say 'snake head'?"

And Luxman laughed. "Yes, by golly! Chop off head of snake, chop into tiny pieces, put in chillum with little hash, little tobacco. Oh, boy! Very good - first class high!"

"Snake?" I pressed him. "Are you sure you mean snake?"

Now they're all laughing. "Yes! Very good! Head of snake!"

Charles Lloyd was visiting - I think his 1966 album "Forest Flower" had just passed the million mark in sales - and he came over with his saxophone. The Bauls wanted to jam, Garth wanted to record, and Rick and I were maybe gonna sit in. So we moved the cushions from the living-room sofa downstairs, and the Bauls sat in a circle so they could hear one another and began to play their Indian soul thing. A minute later, they were already wailing in their own language; in their own world, Bubba. Charles and Rick and I looked at one another and thought, no way. So we got up and let the Bauls play. Hours later, Garth's tape machine was still rolling. These tape were released, years later, as "Bengali Bauls at Big Pink".

Everybody around Woodstock in those days loved the Bauls. They were close to the bone of what music should be all about: ecstatic, unrelenting. They told us they loved Woodstock too because there was all this forest and no tigers to eat the children and goats. Their presence can best be felt if you look at the photo of two of them - the brothers Luxman and Purna Das - posing with Bob Dylan on the cover of his new album, which came out the following month - "John Wesley Harding".

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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thanks for the story. The amazing thing is that while a small number of Bauls have "gone commercial" - the great majority of them are still playing and living in the same fashion as they were 100 years ago. Traditionally - in Bengal and what is now Bangladesh - they were looked down upon as wastrels and druggies. But in the time of Rabindranath Tagore - when he was at the height of his fame with all the great poets and playwrights of Europe coming to sit in his house - and touching his feet - and winning the Nobel Prize for literature - he said. My poetry is nothing - compared to that of the lowely Baul. Theirs is the purest poetry there is. Or - words to that effect. Overnight the Bauls went from pariahs to celebrities and middle-class Bengalis were tripping over their feet, schlepping around in the jungles outside of N. Calcutta to listen to the music of the most marginal sadhu sect in India. Nowadays - with Tagore in his grave and middle-class snobbery at it's height - the Bauls are again largely ignored by their own people.
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barend

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Reply with quote  #10 
these stories are really nice...but what about my tonal questions?? nobody any clue???
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #11 
barend,


i think you answered your own questions! :-) i think Pahadi serves as a base for a few Bauls, but there arent strict rules. its entirely conceivable that a Baul be sung in Pahadi but use komal ni. just listen and analyze

best,

jf

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Bhatiyali

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Reply with quote  #12 
Check out the following link -- this has some un-hippi semi-academic information about bauls:

http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/B_0355.HTM

Most of their compositions are on khamaj thaat -- but really often follow no raag ... bengal is big with khammaj/desh tunes -- goes well with the rivers in the land ... so, NB or anyone else's baul/bhatiyali -- they're dhuns that almost all who know can humm -- I make up bhatiiyali/baul dhuns in my head all the time -- but, they don't adhere to any particular raaga ... but, I'd say they're closest to khammaj/desh.

Check out AAK and RS's Bangla Dhun they played for the Concert for Bangladesh -- same concept ...

The best thing about Baul music is their lyrics (unfortunately, they're all in bangla) -- absolutely amazing sufi stuff -- they have some sort of a 'body' theory -- where they compare life and the divine with body-parts or mundane things ... one of my favourite song goes:

How many people live in your house, my friend?
One plucks at the aktaar (baul version of the tanpura with only one string)
Another drums on the mandira (small cymbals)
Then, who's the one who starts singing distuned tunes?
One draws with focus
Another paints to the drawings
Then, who's the one that destroys the painting?
When you're drunk with wine
See how you let go of the horse's rein
Then, who's the one that picks the reins up again?

Of course they're talking about the different personalities that a person can have on different occassions ...

You can buy some of the remixes of old baul songs (good mixes, not just pure commercial crap) from http://www.ektaarmusic.com Check out the bands Bangla and the mixer Habib. Also check out Sandipan -- these are all old baul songs remixed.

I also have a movie made my Tanvir Mokammel from bangladesh -- a documentary on the religion of bauls -- but, no idea how to share ...

Cheers,

Bhatiyali
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SitarMac

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Reply with quote  #13 
http://theband.hiof.no/albums/bengali_bauls_at_big_pink.html
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "Bhatiyali"
Check out the following link -- this has some un-hippi semi-academic information about bauls:

http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/B_0355.HTM

Most of their compositions are on khamaj thaat -- but really often follow no raag ... bengal is big with khammaj/desh tunes -- goes well with the rivers in the land ... so, NB or anyone else's baul/bhatiyali -- they're dhuns that almost all who know can humm -- I make up bhatiiyali/baul dhuns in my head all the time -- but, they don't adhere to any particular raaga ... but, I'd say they're closest to khammaj/desh.

Check out AAK and RS's Bangla Dhun they played for the Concert for Bangladesh -- same concept ...

The best thing about Baul music is their lyrics (unfortunately, they're all in bangla) -- absolutely amazing sufi stuff -- they have some sort of a 'body' theory -- where they compare life and the divine with body-parts or mundane things ... one of my favourite song goes:

How many people live in your house, my friend?
One plucks at the aktaar (baul version of the tanpura with only one string)
Another drums on the mandira (small cymbals)
Then, who's the one who starts singing distuned tunes?
One draws with focus
Another paints to the drawings
Then, who's the one that destroys the painting?
When you're drunk with wine
See how you let go of the horse's rein
Then, who's the one that picks the reins up again?

Of course they're talking about the different personalities that a person can have on different occassions ...

You can buy some of the remixes of old baul songs (good mixes, not just pure commercial crap) from http://www.ektaarmusic.com Check out the bands Bangla and the mixer Habib. Also check out Sandipan -- these are all old baul songs remixed.

I also have a movie made my Tanvir Mokammel from bangladesh -- a documentary on the religion of bauls -- but, no idea how to share ...

Cheers,

Bhatiyali
I'd be happy to pay any reasonable cost for a copy of it. I have a good friend who spent years filming the Bauls and I'm still waiting for him to finish editing the film so I can see it in it's entirety. BTW - there's a great little independant film that came out last year by a wonderful Bengladeshi director, called "The Clay Bird" which has some great Baul footage in it. It's also just a great film unto itself.
Cheers,
Keshav
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