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     Evening Performances
     6:30 to 9:00 pm at Siri Fort Main Auditorium

sunday 22 nd february at 6.30 pm

 

 Song of the Eternal Universe

by The Bauls of West Bengal with Susmit Bose

 

 

Kalachand Darwesh - Singer, (style Darweshi and Maifati), instrument Swaraj

Tilak Maharaj - Percussionist instrument (Khol)

Madhusudan Das - Singer, (style Birbhumer Gaan) instrument Khamak

Sritikona - Singer, (style Lalaan Geeti) instrument Ektara

Susmit Bose - Singer (style Urban Folk (English) instrument Guitar & Harmonica 

Deepak Castelino - Guitar & American Banjo

 

  

The Bauls of Bengal are an itinerant cult of musicians settled in the rural hinterland of  western Bengal. The

‘domestic’ Bauls can be identified in local trains in Bengal carrying their distinctive musical instruments. They

tie their hair in a top knot and wear a saffron turban. Their tunics are either saffron or patchwork reflecting

the myriad hues of the universe. The “ascetic” Bauls do not perform or marry and follow a strict ritualistic

and religious lifestyle.

 

The Bauls have a concept of iconography that transcends the merely visual and flows  over into mystical

and abstract ruminations. Thus Krishna and Radha are abstract embodiments of divine love and not idols to

be worshipped in the home.This translates into a profound philosophy on life which spills over into a social

concern and often the two mixes, creating a very specific and identifiable Baul wisdom tradition.  They see

and experience all life as a microcosm of the universe, and thus must be respected and  venerated by

humankind.

Dating from the 6th century AD, the Bauls were grouped together as a formal community by Mahaprabhu Chaitanya, the Vaishnavite mystic of the 16th century. He influenced the Hindus and the Sufis who were both persecuted for their caste and poverty by the orthodox religious high priests and liberated them by calling the group “Baul” or one, who has no possessions. He preached the oneness of humanity and through his disciples, the Bauls, advocated the very progressive idea of secularism, gender equality, a casteless and classless society and universal love and respect for humanity. 

A Baul does not believe in idol worship but seeks the moner manush – the God within.  His life’s mission is to search for the ultimate truth through meditation. Over a period of time, they came under the influence of Buddhism and the tantric ritualistic approach to meditation, whereby the spiritual journey was merged with the female, described by them as prakriti or creator, shakti or power, sadhika or companion and sevadashi or the caretaker.  

Songs are an integral part of the Baul philosophy. Their music is allegorical, metaphysical and couched in profound analogies with the corporeal. It reflects the foundation of their spiritual journey, the worldly and divine love of Radha and Krishna that seeks partnership with the divine feminine and the mysteries of the creative energy. 

This performance brings together 2 styles, 12th century traditional Baul music and contemporary folk, 2 languages, Bengali and English, 2 areas, urban and rural. The music combines on stage the traditional hand crafted musical instruments of the Bauls with the American Banjo and the Guitar. It incorporates the 3 musical styles of the Bauls – Darweshi, Lalan Geeti and Birbhumer Gaari in a dialogue with the enlightened activist urban folk music of  Deepak Castelino and Susmit Bose. 

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 sunday 22 nd february at 8.00 pm

 

A century of Gospel Music
by

 LaVon Hardison (vocal),  Darriel Menefee (piano)

 

Gospel music has been called "the language of the soul" because of its heartfelt praise of the power and nearness of God, and its personal retelling of the stories of the Bible. Gospel lyrics often relate the life stories of saints and prophets, showing both their troubles and their triumphs. The connection between the human and the divine is distilled in gospel in a way that speaks eloquently of a close personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Gospel music plumbs the depths of misery, gives deep inspiration to the downtrodden, and triumphs in the new day of spiritual freedom. This music was itself rooted in the music of Africans brought to America as slaves. Rhythm, the beat, the indefinable pulse from Africa has given American music its vitality for over a century.   

Searching for the origins of what is now known as 'Black Gospel' author Robert Darden saw "a people so extraordinary that they could make something out of nothing. When denied a spoken language they created a language of song of such complexity that researchers are still trying to tease out its meanings, when denied access to religion they assembled snippets and bits and molded them into a religion that sustained them in America's darkest hours.”
 

 Despite the oppression of their new lives, these Africans maintained elements of their cultural and musical traditions, including call-and-response, improvisation, and polyrhythms. These traditions formed the foundation of later musical styles including jazz, blues, and gospel – as well as much contemporary popular music.  

LaVon Hardison and Darriel Menefee are pleased to present a program of gospel music and gospel-influenced inspirational songs. They will perform songs ranging from traditional spirituals, anthems, and gospel standards to gospel-inspired original compositions. They'll also be conducting a participatory gospel workshop, in which they give a brief history of African-American gospel music and teach participants some basics of gospel singing in a choral setting. 

LaVon Hardison's musical experience began in the Baptist church, where she absorbed the roots of gospel by singing in the church choir. This experience led her to a career in music and theater. Her live performances and three CD recordings span a range of jazz, opera, blues, swing, and gospel/inspirational music. She has served as a church choir director and is a dramatic actor as well as a musician. www.LaVonHardison.com 

Darriel Menefee leads, directs and guides three choirs, and a staff of five musicians at New Life Baptist Church. Menefee began performing at age eight, playing drums for a Baptist church choir in Alaska. An active member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America, Menefee is a talented pianist, vocalist, and songwriter, among whose works is a show entitled "The Evolution of Gospel Music."  

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