About Satyananda Das Baul - সত্যানন্দ দাস বাউল

Satyananda Das Baul - photo by Sinbi
Satyananda Das is a Baul (Bengali: বাউল) singer, musician, dancer and composer from West Bengal, India. He is known for his rich repertoire of old baul songs and tradition-based improvisation. He captivates the world audiences by his wide range voice, resonance tune and dynamic-delicate dance.

He sings the Baul poems of many great predecessors and some poems of his own, in variety of unique melodies based on rich music tradition of Bengal. He has put melodies to many Bhaba Pagla's lyrics also. Those songs have been loved and sung by many other singers as well.

His expression along with his devotion to the spiritual-mystical abyss of baul philosophy has caused ripples in the world of imaginative music. His soulful voice and blissful tunes have been reputed as "The singing voice of soul" ("魂の詩声"), lead the listeners to a state of meditation and bring inner happiness with deep healing.

He plays baul instruments -Ektara, Duggie and Ghungur mainly with his singing and dancing. He plays Anandalahari, Khonjori, Dotara, Shri khol, and Korotal also.

His initiator guru (dikshya guru) had been Sri Bhagaban Das and his spiritual teacher (sikshya guru, sannyas guru) had been Sri Krishnananda Goswami. Right from childhood, he had taken up the path of austere endeavor. He learned from several masters of music also. His primary guru of baul music had been Sri Bhuban mohan Das. He had groomed up by foster mother Radharani Goswami.

Satyananda Das Baul and Hori Dasi(his accompanist, plays korotal) have been absorbed in searching for the universal soul (paramatma). Their "Chaitanya mantra" guru is Sri Haripada Goswami, who was a centenarian mentor and an appropriate preceptor towards the "sadhana".

The colorful cultural heritage of these immortal Bengali Baul songs date back from thousands of years. The singular objective of such arduous endeavor is to realize one's own self (through the guidance of a proper guru) and visualize the human body as a sacred shrine. It is only then that knowledge of the universe infiltrates into the heart.

Satyananda has traveled across the length and breadth of India and abroad with his music since his young age. He performed before thousands of audiences in England (WOMAD Festival) and other European countries (Switzerland, Holland, France, etc.) with the fabulous world-renowned baul singer Paban Das Baul, several times in 90's. In Germany (Festival of Sacred Music) he won the hearts of audiences on his visit there in 2003. Satyananda and Hori performed in Japan in 2004, 2007 (Baul Songs from Bengal), 2008 (Asian Festa in Tokyo, Namaste India in Tokyo), 2009 (World Music and Dance Festival in Hakodate, ECLIPSE 2009/Total solar eclipse music festival in Amami, Gifu Sangeet Mela, Diwali in Yokohama), 2010 (Asian Puja in Osaka, Namaste India in Nagoya, Oguni Connnect Fes, Bakugenjinmura Full Moon Festival), 2016 (Rabindranath Tagore - Japan 100 years anniversary Festival in Yokohama), 2017 (Soul Beat Asia in Toyota, Aichi), in South Korea in 2007, 2008 (Mime Festival, India Festival at Gwangju Indian Musiam), in India, 2012 - 2016 (Sangeet Mela in Kolkata) in 2014 (Maati Utsav). In 2010, they went to Australia and participated in Sydney Writers Festival, Nine Lives Concert at Sydney Opera House with Paban Das Baul. He was awarded 'Lalon Samman' at All Bangla Lalon Mela 2014. Satyananda and Hori are doing the Europe tour every year, since 2014. In 2015, he performed at International Mother Language Day “Bhasha Utsav", Bangla Akademi, Kolkata. He performed at Teatro Verde in Roma, 2017. Satyananda has mesmerized the world audience with his deep melodious voice and lives in the rich tradition of Bengali baul music alive.
Tel: 0091-8016763665 (mobile in India), Email: satyahori@gmail.com

Baul Artist - Satyananda Das Baul সত্যানন্দ দাস বাউল - photo by Sinbi

বাউল Bauls at Nine Lives Concert, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Writers Festival, in 2010 - photo by Hori Dasi

বাউল Baul in Mt. Pyrenee, France - photo by Hori Dasi
বাউল Baul in Tokyo - photo by Kouji Kubota
Satyananda Das Baul সত্যানন্দ দাস বাউল at old Temple in West Bengal India - photo by Hori Dasi

Satyananda at Firenze, Italy 2015 - photo by Hori Dasi

Satyananda Das Baul in the forest, France -photo by Hori Dasi 
Satyananda Das Baul & Hori Dasi - photo by Ashok Krishna Mitra

 Bauls at Praner Bhagan 09,03,2014 photo by Hori Dasi


Sadhu Shonge Prem Toronge - Satyananda Das Baul  সত্যানন্দ দাস বাউল

Anandadhara : An event by Srijan TV at ICCR Kolkata auditorium

Concerto del cantore Baul Satyananda Das Baul presso il Monastero induista Matha Gitananda Ashram

 সত্যানন্দ দাস বাউল International Mother Language Day at Bangla Academy in Kolkata

Baul Music at sydney opera house, 19th, May, 2010

Sydney Writers Festival, Nine Lives Concert at Sydney Opera House
led by William Dalrymple,
Artists: Paban Das Baul, Mimlu Sen, Kanai Das Baul, Satyananda Das Baul, Susheela Raman, Sam Mills, Shah jo raag fakirs, Hari Das...

The Baul (Bengali: বাউল) are a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal which includes Indian State of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh. Bauls constitute both a syncretic religious sect and a musical tradition. Bauls are a very heterogeneous group, with many sects, but their membership mainly consists of Vaishnava Hindus and Sufi Muslims. They can often be identified by their distinctive clothes and musical instruments. Not much is known of their origin. Lalon Fokir is regarded as the most important poet-practitioner of the Baul tradition. Baul music had a great influence on Rabindranath Tagore's poetry and on his music (Rabindra Sangeet).

Though Bauls comprise only a small fraction of the Bengali population, their influence on the culture of Bengal is considerable. In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.

Arcinazzo Romano (Lazio) 25 novembre 2017
Satyananda Das Baul in Roma

Pubblicato il 25 novembre 2017 da Ilmarinen
Domenica 26 novembre, al Teatro Verde di Roma si terrà un concerto con la presenza straordinaria di Satyananda Das Baul, mistico e cantastorie della tradizione Baul, la corrente spirituale che unisce indissolubilmente spiritualità e arte, mistica e poesia. La tradizione Baul, che significa ‘colpito o attraversato dal vento’ (vātul), dall’aria vitale o dal furore poetico, fa riferimento all’opera di alcuni dei sommi mistici e poeti della letteratura bengali.
La tradizione in oggetto ha in Bangladesh importanti radici, ed è molto popolare anche in Bengala Occidentale e nel resto del mondo.
Satyananda Das Baul è un maestro custode di antichi canti e di uno stile ricercato e intenso.
Pubblicato in Arte e Cultura | Etichettato Satyananda Das Baul Roma Teatro Verde

Roma: musiche e canti mistici del Bengala

Domenica 26 novembre 2017 –
ore 20,30 

Satyananda Das Baul, Canto, strumenti a corde e percussioni:
ektara, dotara, dupki, ananda lahari

Teatro Verde
Circ.ne Gianicolense, 10 (ROMA) 

“Dono e Dialogo, dall’India al cuore d’Italia”, la manifestazione promossa dall’Unione Induista Italiana iniziata col Dipavali lo scorso 18 ottobre in Senato, prosegue con un’appendice musicale del tutto singolare. Domenica 26 novembre, al Teatro Verde di Roma avrà infatti luogo un concerto con la presenza straordinaria di Satyananda Das Baul, mistico e cantastorie della tradizione Baul, la corrente spirituale che unisce indissolubilmente spiritualità e arte, mistica e poesia. La tradizione Baul, che significa ‘colpito o attraversato dal vento’ (vātul), dall’aria vitale o dal furore poetico, fa riferimento all’opera di alcuni dei sommi mistici e poeti della letteratura bengali.
La tradizione in oggetto ha in Bangladesh importanti radici, ed è molto popolare anche in Bengala Occidentale e nel resto del mondo.
Satyananda Das Baul è un maestro custode di antichi canti e di uno stile ricercato e intenso.
La serata non vi farà mancare una immersione nel fiume in piena del sentimento mistico bengalese, le cui sorprendenti ondate di suoni, canti e danze irrigheranno benevolmente l’orecchio e il cuore!
Satyananda Das Baul (voce, strumenti a corde) si esibirà con Hari Dasi ai Cembali Karatali, Igor Orifici al Flauto Banshi e Prosun Mondal a Dubgi e Shri Khol, presentando alla comunità italo-bengalese un repertorio su brani di Lalon Giti (mistico vissuto in Bangladesh tra XIX e XX secolo) e canti Baul.
Il contesto musicale e culturale del Bengala sarà ripercorso aiutando il pubblico italiano con la traduzione dei canti.



Kelara news paper, 13th Feb, 2016, - article about JoyDev Mela, written by Sobha Narayan in malayalam language.

Kerala News paper, 13th Feb, 2016
English translation by Sobha Narayan from Kerala.
      Sree Choran Pabo bole re..... Bhavakule daake...
     While searching ghazals, it happened to notice a very special figure in the internet. A divine face, long tangled hair reaching up to the feet. She was Parvathy Baul, singing with a small musical instrument forgetting her and the surroundings. There started our journey into the world of bauls, for whom music and life are not separate. Accidently we got a book" Honey Gatherers" written by Mimlu Sen .The book itself is the story of Mimlu Sen. It told us about Bauls and their way of living . It lead us to Kolkata and the interior villages of Bengal
          Bauls came into our life one after the another, playing ekathara-a simple and beautiful instrument through the red sandy ways of Bhirbhum , like the wandering wind .
        Baul means 'wanderers' or 'mad'. The word Baul is supposed to have been derived from sanskrit words vyakul or vathul . There is no recorded history about their origin .But there are certain references in the 15th century Bengali literary works. They are residing mainly in the districts of Bhirbhum where Shanti Niketan is located, Bardhaman , Nadiya and 24 Parganas . Majority of them are vaishnavites but they are beyond the boundaries of manmade religions , holy books, scriptures and places of worships .They believe in the concept of 'Moner manush' (body as temple and the inner soul as god ) . For Bauls , music is the means to reach the God inside.
      There are two types of Bauls .One sect leads an ascetic life, singing and wandering with their spiritual partners. The other sect lead family life but they are always away from the main stream of the society. They are singing- for their daily food, not saved anything for tomorrow .Music is their only asset. Guru is their god in this world. There are Hindus and Muslims among Bauls. Baul philosophy is believed to be derived from Hinduism, Budhism, and Sufism. They are philosophers and Yogis. We can see the influences of Hinduism and Sufism in the lyrics of baul songs.
      Lalon Fakir(1774-1890) is considered as the greatest of all Baul Gurus. He questioned the traditional religions in his songs. He asked "How religion looks like? I have never seen it. Did you ''? Bauls are transmitting the songs and poems to generations orally. Written lyrics are very rare. When they singlisteners feel the sweetness of honey in their mind. They give rice, vegetables, clothes and money to the singers. It is known as 'honey gathering' or 'Madhukari'. 
    It is said that, Rabindra Nath Tagore selected Santhinikethan for starting Viswabharathi, out of his love towards bauls and their music .He maintained close relationship with bauls and wrote poems for them. Bauls influenced his writings and music as well. UNESCO recognized baul heritage by including it in the list of '' MASTERPIECE OF THE ORAL AND INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY".
       When our journey for the last 15 years through ghazals, Sufi songs and qawalis reached baul music, we realized that this music which is very close to the hearts and life, creates immense pleasure in our mind. The secular character of baul music, especially our affinity towards the concept of Moner manush inspired us for a journey to the soil of Bengal and to feel the ' music of soil'. 
     Purna Das Baul, Gour Khepa, Pabandas, Thinkori Cakraborthy, Parvathy baul, Mansoor Fakir. so many singers.... who has their peculiar ways rendition..  Country recognized Purna Das with Padmashree. Pabandas settled in Paris with his partner Mimlu sen. He popularized baul music in the Western world. And he surprised the world by making fusions with westerns musicians. Occasionally visited Kolkata, Birbum and Bangladesh with Mimlu . They wandered from festivals to festivals. 
    Sathyananda Das Baul - Our journey through various singers finally ended at this very talented singer. Clear renditionwide range of singing, excellent composition and beautiful dance. Ekthara in the hand, Dhumki tied around the waist, Nupur in the feet. We can characterize him as a one man orchestra. The singer, who is not at all deviated from the traditional ways of singing but not, turned his face from modernity. Hiroko from Japan, who studied Bengali literature reached Santhinikethan , attracted by baul philosophy and music. She became “Horidasi” the spiritual partner of sathyananda das baul and accompanying him in his musical journey through various countries .We went Kenduli as their guests. Thank you for my children who are happily sent me and their father to the very exciting journey. 
     The land of BENGAL, which became so dear to our heart through the classic films of Sathyjith Ray, melodious songs of Salil Choudhary, Malayalam translations of Bengali literature by MN Sathyarthy, great personalities who lived and also through the wandering singers who has music is their life. The first surprise was ready for us when we entered the flight from Cochin. It was Mrs. Usha Uthup famous singer whom we called Didi”.  She looked surprisingly at our face when we told her that it was a journey to hear music at Kenduli , far away from Kolkata. One Mr Kuriakose from Perumbavoor, Kerala who settled at Kolkata was our guide.  Mr. Ali, the driver arranged by Kuriakose Da was ready at the airport to pick up us. 
      By eveningwe reached Belur Madh, after crossing the Howrah Bridge which is a huge net of cast iron across Hugli. Belur Madh, the head quarters of Ramakrishna Mission was founded by Swami Vivekananda. There are memorials of Sree Ramakrishna Parama Hamsar and Swami Vivekananda in the bank of river Ganga. In that evening Swami Vivekananda who attained Samadhi at the age of 39 after a long struggle with various diseases, lighted our souls like a flame
      We felt no value for English in those days. Praise for Mr. Kuriakose who told us “The Hindi which we studied in the school is more than enough”. I cannot believe even now, how we entered in the Gana Devatha Express to Bolpur which started from Howrah in the morning 6.30. Howrah station which has more than 30 platforms really frightened us. When the train moved from the town to the villages, we may think that we are travelling through Palakkad. (Palakkad is a district of Kerala where we can see thousands of acres of paddy fields). The scenery is as same as that of Kerala. When  the train passed Bardhaman station, a baul singer appeared in front of us. He sang two beautiful songs which are very familiar to us. Travelers gave him money with respect. He put the money in his shoulder bag. When we reached Bolpur , he disappeared in the crowd. 
       Our journey from Kokata to Kenduli was to attend the baul festival from 14th to 17th of January. Kenduli is a village, 185 km away from Kolkata and 44 km away from Santhi Nikethan. It is believed to be the birth place of Great poet Jaydeva who wrote Gita Govindam. And it is also believed that he wrote the beautiful love story of Radha and Krishna by sitting beneath the thamal trees here. There is another belief that he was born in a Kenduli in Odisha and completed Geetha govindam at Puri. On Makar sankranthi day, thousands of people came Kenduli from the interior villages of Bengal, cities and from various parts of the country to visit Radha Binod temple, bath in the chili cold water of river Ajoy in memory of Jaydev , and to immerse in the magical world of Baul music. “Joydev Kenduli “is an 800 years old festival.
   It was 12 noon when we reached Kenduli after seeing Santhinikethan and Santhal village. Roads are filled with thousands of flowing people. Busses are heavily loaded inside and on the top also. Hundreds of people are moving around the Radha Binod Temple. In the Tamaltala where there are plenty of banyan trees, so many singers in white and saffron dresses seen in clusters. Thousands of Akharas are there in the sandy bank of river Ajoy. There are Small tents to big Pandals. ( pandal - big thatched temporary shed ). These temporary places are known as” akharas where the bauls sing.There are groups of people sitting and smoking. On another side, there are long chain of shops selling cloths, vessels, agricultural products and tools. Magic, circus, giant wheel... everything for a carnival. 
       Akharas become live in the night. One singesings one or two songs in an akhara or up to the arrival of the next singer. And then goes to the next.
     We expected a festival like Thrissur pooram. (A big temple festival of Kerala, where thousands of people gathered) . But Joydev Kenduli was a very big festival beyond our expectation.  Sathyananda das akhara kothay?” Using the only known Bengali we enquired the address given by HoriDasi Ma through the Face book..Long three hours of enquiry..Telephone network was in a collapsed condition.. We could not contact anybody over phone. Tried all numbers we have in vain... Rush was increasing..Fear and anxiety started to conquer our mind. At last we met our host after three km walking and enquiries. In that dream like moments, we forget all our pains and disappointments.
      It was a small ashram. They heartily welcomed us to sit on a bed of hay on the floor covered with a sheet and offered sweets.  Satayada Das Baul sang few lines by sitting near to us. We also started to sang with him. He taught me the correct lyrics and asked me to write down the same, as a teacher. I wrote those linesin English and Hindi. Truly I considered him as my Guru in my heart, for a long time ago. 
      In the night, there came Paban Das Baul and Mimlu Sen. We really wished to see those two people. Pabandas was wearing a dress made up of colored pieces of cloths and long chains of beads. He had long white thick hair covering his neck. They became surprised and happy to see both of us who came from Kerala after reading Mimlu's book. We were also seeing them in surprise. They were the main characters of a true story, the story which became bi heart for us by repeated reading. They gave us malar (fried rice) in a plate made up of dry teak leaves. That small ashram was filled with fans came from Italy, Guru bhayis, sishyas, journalists and people from Kolkata. SatyaDa and Paban da started singing by sitting in the small room of the akhara.  For all of us ...  By playing Ekathara.. Making wonders in the Dothara.. According to the Noopur tied around their feet....While singing, they were not the people that we have seen earlier... So changed.. Lifted their heads little, with closed eyes, forgetting every thing...
    We have not seen anybody around us and not heard the explosion of music arouse from thousands of akharas.. Really we became vanished in the ocean of music created by Satyananda das baul and Paban..
      We wandered through the akharas up to late night.  Madness of music was filled in the environment. Upon the hay spread over the floor of akharas, there are people listening to the magical music. Totally immersed... There is not any discrimination of religion or caste, rich or poor, villager or city man. We could see the people whose minds became one, by the music of heart.
 In the early morning, we could see the villagers who took bath in the cold water of Ajoy , seeking moksha.There are people who take tea from the small tea shops, covering the whole body in thick blanketssitting by the side of fire places, making them warm. Wsaid fare well to Guruji and Horidasi Ma. Those moments were so painful for us...We cannot forget the face of Horidasi ma till now, who selected the life of a Yogini and was so loving.... They gave both of us a hearty farewell.
Visited the houses of Nethaji who always lighted our memories like a burning star, Mother Teresa Who was the living image of love and purity and Tagore who selected the life of a sanyasi in the midst of all the royal facilities. We wandered through Kalighat and College Street by sipping the hot tea made in the coal stove, served in soil cups... Felt great agony by the visuals of life in the foot paths...  We started our return journey by hearing Rabindra sangeeth which filled everywhere.
   We do not know why we were silent in that journey. The bauls... They were coming with us, passing the clusters of palm trees, mustard and paddy fields, through the red sandy ways of Birbhum... They were singing in our minds...At present also they are singing within us...And inviting us to come again and again to their land - The land of red soil.
(by Sobha Narayan from Kerala)

di Raimondo Bultrini, 2 NOV 2015 
Satyananda Das, menestrello del tempio senza pareti

Il testo che segue è una introduzione personale alla serie di concerti che l'artista bengalese Satyananda Das Baul terrà in Italia dal 6 novembre fino a metà dicembre. Anche se le prime date sono già fissate, come tradizione di questo e altri artisti Baul indiani, gli spettacoli mantengono lo spirito dell’improvvisazione.
6 novembre Roma, Ore 21.30 a "L'Orbita" via dei Volsci, 81 Roma7 novembre Viterbo, Ore 20 al Centro Yoga Saraswati via San Pietro, 81
13 Novembre Verona, Ore 20,45 presso "Casa di Ramia", via Nicola Mazza 50.
Il resto del programma è ancora in preparazione con alcune date nella seconda metà di novembre tra Milano, Savona e la provincia di Varese. Ma vale la pena di tenersi aggiornati (scrivendo per esempio all’Associazione L’Albero Baniano vicino Varese  - alberobaniano@gmail.com - che ha curato l’arrivo di Satyananda) per la particolarità dell’occasione di incontrare un vero talento di questo genere musicale e poetico incluso dall’Unesco tra i patrimoni “della tradizione orale inviolabile dell’umanità”. E’ una cultura che Satyananda Das ha assorbito fin da piccolo, grazie ai suoi guru spirituali e musicali ai quali si è ispirato per composizioni proprie riprodotte da numerosi altri artisti contemporanei. Viaggia e si esibisce con la musicista giapponese Hori Dasi e sono entrambi discepoli di Shri Haripada Goswami e Mata Nirmala Goswami.

Satyananda Das Baul con la sua ektara

Un incontro particolare
Conobbi Satyananda Das a Calcutta molti anni fa, almeno 13. Era il primo concerto del genere della mia vita, organizzato col passaparola a casa di Partha, un appassionato promotore della musica Baul e Fakir, con l’aiuto di altri amici bengalesi come Abeer, il filosofo Utpal, gli entusiasti aspiranti giovani artisti Sandeep Samaddar e Satyaki Banerjee.
Da quella sera intrapresi un viaggio di sensazioni che potrei riassumere grazie a un grande poeta come il Nobel Rabindranath Tagore che fu a sua volta ammaliato dai cantori Baul e dal loro guru Lalun Fakir: «Non senti un fremito propagarsi nell´aria - scrisse nel Gitanjali -  con le note di un suono lontano che giunge dall´altra sponda?». «L´inizio del giorno sussurrava che saremmo dovuti salpare su una barca/ (...) Pellegrinaggio verso nessun luogo e nessun fine/ (...) Chissà quando le catene saranno sciolte/ e la barca, con l´ultimo luccichio del tramonto/ svanirà nella notte».
Il segreto di quella sera, come di tutte le sere che cominciano con le note dell’ektara e della dotara, del tamburello duggie e delle voci estese, era condensato nel contatto stretto e diretto tra gli artisti e il pubblico, che spesso conosce a memoria i testi e li accompagna con campanelli e cimbali.
L’impressione lasciata da Satyananda sul neofita di una performance come quella, nel semplice tinello di una casa della metropoli di Kolkata, fu a dir poco sorprendente. I Baul che avevo conosciuto durante un grande concerto pubblico in Giappone negli anni ’90, erano soprattutto artisti scenici, anche se dalla teatralità traspariva anche la forza della tradizione dalla quale provenivano.
Satyananda mi sembro’ su un altro livello sia degli altri Baul e Fakir che avevo ascoltato, sia di quelli che si esibirono nella casa di Partha. Se non per la statura, era più alto in senso letterario e figurato, un corpo bilanciato tra la sua ektara nella destra, il tamburello sul fianco suonato con la mano sinistra, le cavigliere Ghungur sotto vesti fantasmagoriche che danzavano con lui nello spazio di quel tinello, reso palcoscenico di un’esibizione senza mura né confini di genere e lingua.
Quando lo rividi anni dopo, ancora a Calcutta, durante una grande Mela di musica bengalese durata tre giorni, Satyananda era imbacuccato e con la barba più bianca nel freddo fuligginoso di una sera d’inverno tropicale. Mi sembro’ decisamente più piccolo, una figura semplice e umile come si addice a un maestro di questa tradizione che risale ai menestrelli cantastorie delle epiche popolari, oltre al movimento medioevale Bhakti, aperto, liberale, senza conflitti tra caste e divinità di riferimento, tra Shiva e Visnu, perfino tra hindu e mistici islamici, decisamente opposto alla cultura dell’Inquisizione che dominava a quel tempo in Europa.
Il lignaggio dei Baul e dei Fakir risente enormemente dei principi trasmessi da poeti e santi hindu e islamici sufi che consideravano ogni corpo un tempio con l’altare al cuore, senza un Dio da cercare per venerare la bontà che è in ogni uomo, Moner Manush in bengalese. Spiriti privi di attaccamento ai concetti e ai dogmi, non avevano remore ad attingere dalla tradizione vedica o coranica, in una regione come il Bengala già ricca di misteriose tradizioni tantriche precedenti. Sarebbe lungo spiegare come hanno fatto i Baul e i Fakir islamici, parola che in arabo vuol dire povero, a diventare specialmente in Bengala messaggeri di questa unità spirituale, in uno Stato dove si parla la stessa lingua, ma è politicamente diviso tra l’occidente induista e l’oriente musulmano del Bangladesh.

Lalun Fakir
Per comprendere lo spirito che aleggiava in quella stanza di Calcutta,  vorrei rievocare la figura di Lalun Fakir, oggi maestro riconosciuto di Baul e Fakir, nonché uno degli ispiratori della ricerca filosofica e musicale di Tagore che lo conobbe quando era già centenario.
Lalun nacque nel 1774 da una famiglia induista e raggiunta l’età adulta volle viaggiare alla ricerca di ispirazione spirituale come molti sadhu erranti. Quando giunse nell’ashram di un celebre maestro Sufi, supero’ ogni pregiudizio e ne divenne discepolo, ma si ammalo’ gravemente. Per riprendersi ci vollero mesi di cure e attenzioni del suo guru e degli altri membri della comunità. Quando si rimise in forze torno’ dalla famiglia, salvo scoprire di esserne stato escluso per aver vissuto e mangiato cibo con gli impuri islamici. Lalun torno’ allora a vagabondare componendo poemi in prosa che cantava ovunque, insegnamenti eclettici contenuti in testi divenuti talmente popolari che ancora oggi si ripetono senza variazioni in migliaia di piccole e grandi feste o Mela, nelle serate di musica attorno al fuoco, o nelle case come quelle di Partha dove la fiamma della sua ispirazione originaria continua ad ardere nel petto delle nuove e vecchie generazioni di musicisti.
Da Lalun attingono Satyananda Das e gli altri artisti che ormai viaggiano il mondo trasportando ovunque frammenti della saggezza di questo grande personaggio morto a fine '800 all'età di 116 anni. Una delle sue prose più tradotte dice: “Mente mia, sii libera come l'uccello che non lascia tracce, tu che ancora vivi nella gabbia di bambù (il corpo, ndt) destinata a disintegrarsi...”. Il concetto del vuoto cosmico nel quale si muove la mente umana è sintetizzato nel credo di ogni Baul (e Fakir) sulla futilità di qualsiasi standard di preghiera, laddove chiese, templi e altari possono trasformarsi perfino in ostacoli sulla via della verità. Una verità che ognuno deve trovare da solo.

Ektara, una icona della musica Baul e Fakir
Rincontrando Satyananda Das, le emozioni di quella “iniziazione” alla musico-terapia dei Baul hindu, e dei fratelli musulmani Fakir, riaffiorarono come una fontana di ricordi visivi, sonori e mantra. Più di tutti ero rimasto impresso dal suo modo di venerare,  suonare e roteare lo strumento dell’ektara. E’ una conchiglia di legno o di zucca secca che fa da cassa di risonanza, con una corda metallica fissata al fondo del guscio o della pelle animale, con una manopola nella parte superiore che ne regola la tensione al centro di due asticelle flessibili di bambù, premute dalle mani del suonatore. Non esistono spartiti né posizioni delle dita che possano calcolare il tono e l'estensione della unica nota, affidati completamente all’orecchio e all'ispirazione. Sono caratteristiche che fanno dell'ektara uno strumento dell'anima più che una fonte di suoni percepibili dall'udito.

L’ektara è uno dei più antichi – se non il più antico – oggetti musicali dell’India, e in diverse versioni è usato in parecchi Stati come il Punjab e il Rajasthan. Ma nella musica bengalese la sua base ritmica, ancorché delicata e apparentemente priva di una sonorità dominante, è la guida dell’intera armonia che scaturirà nel corso della esibizione in un crescendo estatico, sempre prossimo alla trance per chi la sa trovare.
Il potere del suono di un'unica corda, come nel koan zen della mano che applaude da sola, scaturisce dalla filosofia di un mondo perfetto fin dall’origine proprio perché universale, unico, dove la verità ultima si compone di negazioni più che affermazioni. Kabir, uno dei più celebri poeti e santi del movimento Bhakti, uso’ lo stile delle Upanishad per descrivere il principio immutabile trasmesso dal maestro di conoscenza che è dentro ciascuno di noi.
“Là (nello stato non duale, ndr) non c'è creazione o creatore,
né grossolano o fine, non vento o fuoco,
il sole, la luna, la terra o l'acqua,
nessuna forma radiante, nessun tempo,
nessuna parola, nessuna carne, nessuna fede,
nessuna causa ed effetto, né alcun pensiero del Veda,
nessun Hari o Brahma, Shiva o Shakti,
nessun pellegrinaggio e rituali,
né madre, padre o guru...”

Per questa completa libertà di pensiero e azione Baul e Fakir sono considerati poco più che folli dalle tradizioni ortodosse di entrambe le religioni. Ma è ancora Lalun a spiegare con un canto qual è l'essenza di questa pazzia: "Ognuno chiede: "Lalun, qual è la tua religione in questo mondo?" Lalun risponde: "Che aspetto avrebbe questa religione? Non vi ho mai posato gli occhi sopra. Alcuni usano mala  (rosari indù ndt) al collo, alcuni i tasbis (rosari musulmani), e così la gente dice che hanno diverse religioni. Ma chi porta il segno della sua religione quando si arriva o quando si va (da questo mondo)?".

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Scritto in Lalun Fakir, Musica Baul e Fakir, Satyananda das Baul

Leonid Plotkin, The Nomadic Alternative - Fragments from a life of travel  5 November 2014

Satyananda Das Baul © 2014 Leonid Plotkin www.leonidfotos.com

Music of the wandering minstrels
The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Metro | Timeout 9 Jan 2010  

Bauls at Baul Fakir Utsav
Music of the wandering minstrels
A community traditionally associated with Birbhum in Bengal, Bauls are best known for their songs and poems invoking a god who dwells within the human spirit. Fakirs are mendicants who travel from one place to another, often singing songs bearing their spiritual message. Bauls and Fakirs are believed to share two key aspects: a protestant subaltern socio-religious ethos and a physico-yogic practice; both being reflected in the songs that form the textual corpus of these communities and expressions of their life. Baul and Fakir genres of music have rich historical, cultural and social significance. Their songs are all about transcendence, nostalgia, mysticism and the exotic. With the winter chill in the air, the annual Baul Fakir Utsav is back in the city, with its medley of songs of the soil, presented in a warm, affable and homely ambience. In its fifth edition this year, the festival features a star cast of folk music practitioners, including Radheshyam Das, Kanai Das, Gaur Khyapa, Satyananda Das and Kartick Das who will render baul songs. Fakiri music will be performed by Nur Muhammad, Heera Shah, Khaibur Fakir, Akkas Fakir, Amirul Fakir and Golam Fakir. This year, bichhedi, Baul and Fakiri songs will also be presented by Chandrabati Ray Burman, Ronesh Thakur, Abdur Rahaman and six other performers from Sylhet, Bangladesh.
Event: Baul Fakir Utsav 2010 When: January 9 and 10; 11 am onwards Where: Shaktigarh, Jadavpur

Winter feast of songs of the soil
- Large audience for second Baul-fakir utsav at Jadavpur
The Telegraph - Calcutta : Metro 10 Jan 2007, Arka Das

Songs of the soil brought relief from the winter chill in a strip of a park at Shaktigarh, Jadavpur, this weekend. The second Baul-Fakir Utsav saw Kartik Das, Satyananda Das, Biswanath Das and Gour Khyapa share the stage — “a line-up not seen even at Joydeber Mela at Kenduli”.
With a footfall count of more than 4,000 over two days, the word-of-mouth campaign of the organisers worked well. The soiree, organised by NGO Marfat with financial help from music-lovers and associates, saw 32 artistes take the stage. Bonnie Chakraborty, former Krosswindz frontman and member of folk-fusion band Oikyotaan, was in charge of the sound.
Among the known faces in the crowd were British producer-guitarist Sam Mills, percussionist Tanmoy Bose, anchor Keya Chaitali Basu and actor Parambrata Chatterjee. Members of a number of city bands also dropped in.
Day One saw the much-anticipated performance by Kartik Das Baul, considered one of the best players of khamak in the community. His recital showed why. This was followed by his duet with Gour Khyapa, perhaps the most eccentric talent on show. Their opening track was the improvised Kaj cholchhe shortcut-e. Mahajan pad followed after requests from the audience. All along, Teenkari Das Baul on dubki and Nitai Das on khol provided percussive support to the singers.
The first day also saw performances by veteran Biswanath Das and vibrant recitals by Kanai Mondal, Tarak Das Baul, Uttam Das Baul, Subhadra and Tulika Hazra.
On Day Two, Golam Fakir, Akkash Fakir, Amirul Fakir, Armaan Fakir, Bedana Fakirani, Kalachand Darvish, Satyananda Das, Heera Shah and Haradhan Das Baul performed.
Golam’s rendition of Allah ho Allah was the high point of the evening, highlighting his skill on dotara as much as his contagious on-stage energy. Akkash’s set was heart-warming, with a superb rendition of Manush bhoje je jona. Satyananda Das Baul’s set reflected his maturity and excellent modulation.
While Haradhan Das’s Hrid Majhare was the concluding song, performances spilled on to the adjoining akhras, and the festival carried on long after it was officially over.


Border melts in Tagore Nobel celebration
Times of India‎ - 12 Dec 2013
TNN | Dec 13, 2013, 03.54AM IST
KOLKATA: Top Bangladeshi singers like Nandita Yasmin, Shama Rahman, Aditi Mohsin and Iffat Ara Dewan will be in town this week to mark the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel.

Organized by Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture as part of its annual cultural event 'Aspirations', the nine-day extravaganza includes a play reading of Noor Jahan and a play adaptation of Sri Aurobindo's short story 'The Phantom Hour'. It will be inaugurated by Khondaker Showkat Hossain, secretary, ministry of housing and public works, Bangladesh on Saturday at the lush green ashram near Tollygunge.

Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) and Bengal Foundation are joining hands with Sri Aurobindo Institute of Culture to celebrate the Nobel centenary, where eminent artists, intellectuals and cultural doyens from both sides of the border will interact with each other.
One of the highlights is a lecture by professor Anisuzzaman, a veteran of the Liberation War, who was responsible for the Bengali part of the Bangladesh Constitution. Another unique event is the play reading of Dwijendralal Roy's 'Noorjahan' by Supriti Mukhopadhyay, embellished with Swastika Mukhopadhyay's songs. One of Roy's best known plays, it has Noorjahan plotting revenge against emperor Jahangir.

Some of the finest Rabindrasangeet exponents from Bangladesh like Aditi Mohsin and Iffat Ara Dewan will perform during the nine-day festival, along with Baul singers Satyananda Das and Hori Dasi. There will be a tribute to Manna Dey by S F Karim, Abhijit Bandyopadhyay, Tarun Majumder, Haimanti Sukla, Pallav Ghosh and Santanu Basu.

Aspirations traditionally showcases arts and crafts of South Asia. This time, there are several organizations, including Auroville, and Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation, bringing products like medicinal and organic textiles and hand-made, natural personal care products.


Aspiration 2005 - annual celebration of dance, music and culture

Aspiration - annual celebration of culture, music and dance

Satyananda Das Baul at Aspiration 2004

ASIAN FESTA in Roppongi Hills 2008, Tokyo, Japan


Namaste India Tokyo 2010

Satyananda Das is a prominent BAUL singer and composer from West Bengal, India. He has captivated august audiences by his wide range voice, dulcet tunes and dynamic dance and has caused ripples in the world of imaginative music. Satyananda Das & Hori Dasi, his partner have been absorbed in searching for the universal soul (paramatma). Their "Chaitania mantra" guru is Sri Haripada Goswami, who is a centenarian mentor and a perfect preceptor towards the "sadhana". Satyananda Das had traveled across the length and breadth of India with his music. He performed before thousands of audiences in England (WOMAD Festival) and other European countriesin in 1997 and 1999. In Germany (Festival of Sacred Music) he won the hearts of audiences on his visit there in 2003. Satyananda & Hori performed in Japan in 2004, 2007 (Baul Songs from Bengal), 2008 (Asian Festa in Tokyo), 2009 (World Music and Dance Festival in Hakodate, ECLIPSE 2009/Total solar eclipse music festival in Amami), in South Korea in 2007, 2008 (Mime Festival). In 2010, they went to Australia, and participated in Sydney Writers Festival, Nine Lives Concert at Sydney Opera House. Satyananda Das has mesmerized the world audience with his deep melodious voice and kept the rich tradition of Bengali BAUL music alive.


World Music and Dance Festival in Hakodate 2009


In 2005, the Baul tradition was included in the list of "Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO.  Satyananda Das has mesmerised world audiences with his deep melodious voice and kept the rich tradition of Bengali Baul music alive.