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The Sounds of Bengal: An account of traditional Bengali Music

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com 

   

What’s vibrant may not be rich and the vice versa also holds true; yet, both the adjectives seem to fall short when it comes to narrate the entire folk culture of Bengal within a confined space. A tradition that branched out by being carried from generation to generation in the spoken form soon blended with the tunes that once had originated in the soils of Bengal; it’s the folklores that we often find as the subject matters of the traditional musical forms of Bengal that has even originated counter-cultures – a heritage that has survived every socio-economic rise and falls and made its way even into the urban circuit, both in the pure and fused forms. That includes Baul, Bhatiyali, Bicchedi, Murshidi, Hari-Sankirton and a number of other sub-genres, some of which were opted by the budding urban community for being given a form different than the root genre. Whether it was an effort that benefited or harmed the cultural milestones is subjected to a lot of debate, but it was proved that Bangla folk music is influential enough to remold a mindset and find its way out to the bigger domains outside its own periphery.

  

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com 

The primary form that comes to the mind is undoubtedly the Baul song; it is the wit, and humor borne through the emotions, feelings, dreams and philosophy that gave rise to this mellifluent genre. A nomadic lifestyle being an essential part, the resonance of the dhol, the ektara and mystical lyrics were branded by United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as Masterpieces of Heritage of Humanity on the 28th of November 2005. A search for the higher being through love, peace and harmony among the fellow humans being the philosophy behind, it is the intricate and complex philosophy of mysticism that forms the backbone of the genre, similar to the Sufis of Persia. However, Baul also has a variation; Murshidi, as it is known as blends the Sufi philosophy of Islamic tradition together with the Hindu religious beliefs.

  

Another form that comes somewhat close to the Baul tradition is Kobigaan; composed and performed by folk poets or kobial-s, the music is instinctive by nature with humor and wit (often metaphorically sultry and expressed through riddles) derived from the day to day experiences. Chiefly based on the call-and-response style like the early Afro-American music and counter-questions to bewilder the opponent, Kobigaan can be stated as a knockout event that brings together entertainment, pleasure and wisdom. But that was the case with the Hindus; the Muslim Kobial tradition (also known as Jarigaan) was based chiefly on the life and teachings of prophet Mohammed. The real fun was to watch Hindu and Muslim Kobials compete against each other, which used to bring out excellent theosophical explanations of the doctrines from both the religions. And when it comes to varying degrees of melancholia, the land of the three of the world's largest rivers offers Bhatiali – the song of the boatmen of the rural Bengal. An epitome of poetic creativity based on the life on the river away from home, the other factors that impart to the genre its real charms are the rhythm of the oars and the feeling of the destination that look close but are yet far, making the longing for stability seem a never-ending process.

  

The list can continue further spanning over other melancholic genres like Bichhedi (songs of separation) or through the music that came up as parts of certain rituals (marriages, for example); devotional elements are to be found in Hori sonkirtan or Namyajna and plain Kirtan, though the latter sometimes took the form of full length dramas, narrating the arduous separation and then the eventual coalescence of Lord Krishna and Radha. And those who are finding Bangla less worthy of attention because of its simplistic nature, for them, it is to be remembered that folk songs are simple because of their simplistic philosophies and subject matters; it is the same criteria that exist in folk songs from every part of the world making them appear alike except for the language.

 

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com

 

 

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