As the most recognized woman 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 forty countries, including such prestigious concert halls and music festivals 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.”
The Baul tradition dates back to the early 8th C. AD and has grown weaving 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.
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 recognized 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 both preservation and renewal of the tradition, frequently using her international reputation to highlight other, lesser-known master performers, and is making systematic training in traditional Baul arts available to women on a scale that has never occurred previously.
Parvathy has recorded five CDs of music and published a book on the Baul tradition through Ekathara Kalari, her non-profit institution promoting ancient Indian spiritual traditions, with an emphasis on Baul arts and practice.
Text & Photo Credit: Parvathy Baul