CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOPS
In the exchange collaboration programme, 10 basic Capacity building workshops with 1157 artists have been organized to sharpen their performing skills. The workshops created opportunities for formal training for many participants and attempted to fill the gap in the traditional way of skill transmission. Artists from different districts enriched themselves by exchanging their styles of singing and playing musical instruments. The participants realised the essence of the true Baul lifestyle through morning session of Prabhati, a morning walk and breathing exercise that drives oneself a step towards becoming a Baul.
7 advanced level Capacity Building workshops have been organized with 452 artists. 5 days residential workshop was organized between April 2-6, 2018 at Tepantar, Bardhaman. Other than this, Advance training programs were held between June 16-20, 2018, June 23-27, 2018, June 26-30, 2018 and June 9-13, 2019 at Tepantar, Bardhaman. Some of the Bauls have significantly improved their performances and are ready to perform at big stages. The participants learnt new Mahajani Padas and new songs along with lyrics and rhythm of the songs. The trainers shared the underlying meaning and philosophy of the Baul songs which is essential learning for the practising Bauls. The participants understood the value of the discipline of becoming a professional artist. The interest level of the participating Bauls in the art form increased significantly after attending the workshops.
Advance Instrument Workshop
Advanced instrumental workshops of Dotara and Flute were held from May 2019 – September 2019 at Tepantar, Bardhaman and Baitanik, Kolkata to sharpen the skills of the performers and to introduce various rhythm practice lessons. The mentors of the Dotara workshop were Tapan Das (Aka: Sadhu Das) and Tanmoy Das (Aka: Kangal Khyapa). The first month’s workshop was held on May 9-10 at Tepantar with 18 participants. The second month’s workshop was held on June 28-29 with 32 participants. The mentors of the Flute workshop were Tarun Chaudhury and Mohan Patra. The first month’s flute workshop was held on May 30-31 with 1 participant. The second month’s flute workshop was held on June 29-30 with 5 participants.
Communication Skill, Digital Awareness and Financial Literacy Workshop
A two-day workshop with 39 Baul was organised at Tepantar, Bardhaman on 11-12th June 2019 to make them aware of various digital payment options. Financial Literacy and Improved Communication Skill were also the focused areas of these workshops. The participating artisans were very much enthusiastic and learned how to use social media platforms to promote their art form.
Exchange Collaboration -
Many exchange collaborations have been conducted with individual artists and music bands from Ireland, France, Switzerland etc.
Duo Fatale comprises Jopo and Ingeborg Poffet of Switzerland. They are composers, teachers, producers and soloists. Jopo plays the clarinet and saxophone and Ingeborg the accordion. The duo collaborated with Bauls singers and instrumentalists like Girish Khyapa, Khokon Das, Sanatan Das and other musicians. The experience spurred them to revisit Bengal from 28th December 2017 to 15th January 2018. During this visit, they collaborated with Girish Khyapa and Khokon Das.
Madagán, a four-member traditional Irish music band of Belfast, Northern Ireland, visited Bengal from 7th to 19th December 2017. Their songs are in Irish and English and come from both sacred and secular traditional repertoire. The band members are Conor Lamb, Deirdre Galway, Jason O’Rourke and Maria Rafferty. They collaborated with Subhankar Baul and musicians of other genres like Bhawaiya and Bhatiyali.
Santiago Cordoba of Argentina is a percussionist of the well known “Violentango” or the ambassadors of the new tango movement. He set out on a tour of Bengal in the winter of 2017 (29th November to 16th December 2017) and enthralled audiences with his solo concept “Corso”, a kaleidoscope of various percussion instruments, loops, samples, piano, and guitar. Santiago’s thoroughly composed and well-structured music, with intermittent interchanges, acquired a compelling edge with his intense and elegant playing style. He collaborated with Piyush Baul, Somnath Das Baul and Tanmoy Pan and created some soulful music.
Tita Nzebi, a young singer born in Gabon, central Africa, and settled in Paris, made a 16-day tour of Bengal from 20th October to 5th November 2017. Her musical journey connected audiences with the little known Nzebi community of Gabon. Tita collaborated with Baul singer Sumanta Das Baul and urban folk singer Titas Sen and performed at select venues in Kolkata, Biswa Bangla Haat in New Town and village festivals.
Performances at Events & Festivals
The Baul Fakirs of Bengal in order to transmit their message of world peace and love for humanity through their soulful songs travelled distances and performed in Paris, Czech Republic, Copenhagen, Germany, Hungary, Sweden and Washington DC.