From the five-hundred-year old musical history of the Sufi Fakirs of Bengal to the virtuoso musicianship of Calcutta’s guitar master Debashsish Bhattacharya and Carnatic violinist Jyotsna Srikanth, this playlist explores India’s ancient musical traditions and acoustic roots.
Paban Das Baul
Paban Das Baul - Kon Ek Pakhi
Paban is a member of Bengal's Baul sect, whose religious beliefs focus on the genderless, nameless nature of God, and hold up the physical body as a vehicle for the spiritual. These mystics of the Indo-Gangetic plain present their music sublimely in Kon Ek Pakhi - Paban's voice has a quality of timeless knowledge and liberty. It's obvious that the music embodies the values of "Baul", which means "one who is possessed by the wind".
Zakir Hussein, Alla Rakha - Tabla Taal - Ek Taal
It is not hyperbole to say that Zakir Hussain is the most prominent and accomplished Indo-Pakistani rhythmic master ever. Indian music is fond of the musical dynasty; Hussein and his father, Alla Rakha work in tandem on this track to transport listeners to an intense world of polyrhythms and elaborate patterns that roll ever forwards.
Anandi Bhattacharya - Jai Ganesh
Another product of a mighty dynasty of Indian music - Anandi Bhattacharya is the daughter of renowned guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya, but she shines in her very own right. The family is in full support mode on this album, her father producing, playing and co-composing, and uncle Subhasis on tablas, underpinning Anandi’s arresting voice which floats through the song with a real sense of freedom. Although classically trained, there’s a touch of Bollywood about Anandi’s delivery.
Babu Fakir - Khajababa
Babu Fakir specializes in Qawwali and Baul/Fakiri songs and is a very recognised singer in Fakiri music. Through Qawwali repertoire, he maintains a hundred year old oral tradition that praises both Allah and Lord Krishna. Khajababa has a swirling, twirling melody that becomes more addictive with each pass, leading the listener deeper and deeper into as though by a gravitational pull.