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    At the second edition of the Baul Retreat, expect lectures, workshops and high energy

    BAUL music is all about spirituality, rhythm and lively singing, set to the beat of a stringed instrument like the iktara, dotara or dhunki. Expect high energy levels as the centuries-old music tradition that originates from the Bengal region comes to Pondicherry next month. Baul musicians such as Shahjahan Munshi from Bangladesh and Parvathy Baul from India will perform at the event. The others will include Biswanath Das Baul, Lakshman Das Baul and Nitai Chandra Das. With the intention of reviving this dying art, Lalit Verma, one of the organisers behind the event says, “There is a general lack of love around us. These songs convey the power of love. They may inspire you, or change your perspective and attitude towards life.”
    Jointly organised by Aurodhan Pondicherry and Ekathara Kalari, the second Baul Retreat is a six-day programme that will include workshops and lectures. One workshop will be jointly conducted by the five artistes, where techniques of breath control, balanced body movements and singing will be taught. “Lectures on healthy food, spirituality and philosophy (of life) will also be held,” Verma says. The first Baul Retreat in December 2014 saw a versatile audience of both young and old, expats and Indians, albeit in limited numbers. “We limited the audience to around 20-25 members for the first edition. We are bringing it back after the warm response,” Verma says. This year there are 50 seats that are available on first-come, first-serve basis. Networking with other music festival directors and cultural institutions, Verma has enthusiasts from Canada, US and England flying down for the programme.
    Between October 13 and 18. At Aurodhan Pondicherry, Kuruchikuppam. Registration fees is approximately Rs.20,000, inclusive of food and accommodation. Details: 0413 2222795
     Ranjitha G

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