Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Bengali Bauls at Batha

Singer, Parvathy Baul, gave a strong performance at the Batha Museum on Wednesday afternoon. Playing a monochord ektara and a small duggi drum, and spinning so that her calf-length hair spun out around her, she sang songs of the mystical poets of Bengal.

The Bauls are the last of the great mystic nomads, and their repertoire can be from Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The name "Baul" comes from the Sanskrit batul which means 'fool', or one intoxicated with divine inspiration.

Parvathy was accompanied by flute, dotaa and ananda lahari. Her voice and theatrical presence were electrifying. This was music from the heart, in stark contrast to the music of Ahmed Essyad, heard earlier in the week, which was music of the head.

Parvathy's vocal range might not be extensive, but there was no doubt about her extraordinary power. At times she seemed like a mad woman possessed, at others, a tender lover, her voice whispering into the ether. Singing unaccompanied other than by her own ektara and duggi, she bent notes in a fluid and melodious way. The ankle bells she wore added yet another positive dimension to the overall sound of the performance.

The impact on the crowd of Parvarthy's voice was immediate and sustained throughout. At times, ferocious, at times trance inducing, the audience were in the palm of her hand. But it was a union she treated with great respect. This was a truly remarkable example of what the Fez Festival can deliver.


Well known Fez visitor, Justin McGunness


10h00 at the Batha Museum: Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia with morning ragas on a bansuri flute. Artistic Director Alain Weber explains that Chaurasia agreed to play at the Fez Festival on the understanding that he could play his morning ragas, as he so rarely gets to play them at festivals.
16h00 at the Batha Museum: Baghdad-Jerusalem ensemble with Yair Dalal
20h30 at Bab al Makina: Sizero Tabla Experience from the UK and India

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories on The View from Fez, click HERE!


Anonymous said...

Is the Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia concert a free or ticket event?

Anonymous said...

... to answer my own question, it's 150 dhm.

Anonymous said...

Dear TVFF team
You've done such a wonderful job covering the festival, with in-depth articles and beautiful photographs, that I feel as though I've been there! Maybe next year...