Interview | Sahaj Ma and Utpal Fakir - the popular contemporary Bauls of Bengal

May 16, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Sahaj Ma and Utpal Faqir are an upcoming and popular Bengali Baul and folk song duo. Their debut album "Folktail" with acclaimed percussionist Bickram Ghosh featured the superhit song "Allah Meherban" which made the MTV India's Bengali Top-10 list - a first for any Baul song, such was it's popularity.

In this exclusive video, Subhomoy Mukherjee of WBRi Washington Bangla Radio speaks intimately with the talented pair of singers and instrumentalists in an informal setting. Sahaj Ma and Utpal Fakir speak about the Baul philosophy and way of life, and spontaneously break into songs that are sure to touch the listener's hearts as only beautiful Baul songs can do.

Sahaj Ma - Utpal FakirSahaj ma and Utpal das Fakir can be described as “Khyepi Khyapa” or “Nyeri Nyara” in “Baul” and they are one of the most respected Baul Couple in today’s Bengali Folk Song World.

Sahaj Ma started her classical Talim at the age of three only. Her first Guru was her mother, who taught her the Sargam when she was 5 years old. Later She went to Pandit M. R. Goutam for 4 years and after that to Smt. Sunanda Patnaik (Orissa) for 5 years. After marriage she decided to learn and go to folk song with her husband Utpal Das Fakir, who was doing research work on folk song. Utpal Sadhan Das Bairagya & Maki Kazumi (Guru Maa) are her Diksha Guru and Siksha Guru. Subal Gosai and Sanatan Das Baul are also Siksha Guru.

For a long period  Utpal Fakir involved  in search of spiritual soul of Baul’s & Fakir's. In that  period he wrote two books of poetry based on them. he learned violin and flute from Gurus of from Senia Gharana. At the same time he went with Bauls & Fakirs to learn and collect their songs. He stayed with them in Akhra for long time to achieve their sadhana.

His Diksha and Siksha Guru is Faqir Sadhan Das Bairagyo. Subhol Gosai and Sanatan Gosai are also Siksha Guru.

After Diksha he started writing songs on Baul and Sufi. His "Akhra-life' with the Bauls added the original rustic touch to his compositions.

Later he became an artist and composer of HMV and made Folktail, Lalmati and Bautan.

"Allah Meherban" from Folktail was superhit song of them and shown on MTV.

Their major performances over the years:

2009: Digha beach Festival.
2000-2009: Banga Sangeet Mela, Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata.
2000-2008: Banga Sanskriti Utsav.
2008: Nikhil Bharat Banga Sahitya Sanmelan, Jharkhand.
2008: "Sharad Utsav", Science City auditorium, Kolkata.
2008: Tamralipta Utsav, Tamluk.
2007-2008: Rupnarayan Utsav.
2006-2008: Tarakeswar Utsav.
2006: "Ananda Parban" Nazrul Mancha, Kolkata.
2006: Delhi Banga Sanskriti Sanmelan, Delhi.
2005: Mumbai Sharadia Utsav, Mumbai.
2003-2006: Haldia Utsav.
2000: "Banga Mela", Rabindra Sadan, Kolkata.
In July, 2010 they will perform in New Jersey Banga Sammelan (North American Bengali Conference / NABC 2010)

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