Mystic Songs of the Bauls


20 Apr 2018, 9:15 PM - 10:00 PM


World Music


The mystic Baul minstrels from rural Bangladesh and West Bengal are a syncretic religious sect known for their freedom from convention and spontaneous expression of love for the divine. Their music has, for centuries, been a huge influence on Bengali culture, particularly the poetry and music of Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

Dating back to the eighth century, the Baul tradition weaves together threads from Sahajiya Buddhism, Turkish Sufism and Bengali Hinduism. This powerful musical form has been recognised as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

About Parvathy Baul

As the most renowned female Baul performer in the world, Parvathy Baul is a practitioner, performer and teacher of the Baul tradition from Bengal, India. She is also an instrumentalist, storyteller and painter.

She has performed in over 40 countries, including prestigious concert halls and music festivals such as the Noh Theater in Kyoto, the World Music Center in New York City, and the Festival of World Sacred Music in Fez, Morocco.

Parvathy’s technical virtuosity—her mastery of vocal pitch and tone while playing multiple instruments and dancing—has been lauded by music experts. The depth of her mesmerising performance is rooted in her deep spiritual practice, and is described by critics as “riveting” and “spellbinding.”

Parvathy’s performance work emerges from a long lineage of master Baul singers, dancers, and spiritual teachers. She studied closely with two of the most respected Baul singer-gurus of the previous generation, Sri Sanatan Das Thakur Baul and Sri Shoshanko Goshai. She was recognised by her gurus as both a musical and spiritual teacher in the Baul tradition, carrying forward their spiritual legacy.

She is a tireless advocate for the preservation and renewal of the tradition and frequently makes use of her international reputation to promote lesser-known master performers. Her efforts in bringing women more opportunities to train in the traditional Baul arts have also been unprecedented.

Parvathy has recorded five music CDs and published a book on the Baul tradition through Ekathara Kalari, her non-profit institution which promotes ancient Indian spiritual traditions, with an emphasis on Baul arts and practices.

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