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Baul Sangeet is a popular form of Bengali folk music. Get to know more about Baul Music of West Bengal (India), from this article.

Baul Sangeet

Bengali music is one of the richest music forms in the world. The variety, colorfulness, vibrancy and aura that it offers are impossible to be found in any other kind of music. Amongst the various genres of Bengali music, Baul Sangeet has always held a special place. It is basically a folk dialect of Bengali music, which has its own raw and mystic charm. It was developed by a group of mystic minstrels from Bengal, considered to be a syncretic group with music in their blood. Baul community completely depends upon their music for their livelihood. In 2005, they were declared as the 'Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity' by UNESCO.

The lyrics of Baul music are highly philosophical and intellectual. In their songs, God is not referred to by the names given to Him by various religious sects. Rather, Bauls celebrate music as their celestial love for almighty. The music is more of an inspirational kind, which urges you to find God within you instead of searching him in temples, mosques and churches. Bauls use simple wooden instruments, like a single stringed 'Ektara' or multi-stringed 'Dotara', for making music. The other musical instruments they use include a small earthen drum - called 'Dugi', two cymbals - called 'Dhol and Khol', two small percussion instruments - called "Kartal" and "Mandira" and a bamboo flute - called 'Banshi'.

Baul Music is a highly spiritual in nature, but far away from religious dilution. This genre presents a very different approach to music, with a lot of dedication and selflessness in the art. It is comparable to the Sufi sangeet, where music is considered to be the medium of interaction with almighty. Listeners also compare it to the modern western folk music, like the music of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The beauty of Baul sangeet lies in the devotion of the Baul people towards this art, which they consider as the inspiration of their life. You can listen to Baul music in the Kenduli Mela, organized during Makar Sankranti, in Birbhum district of West Bengal.