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Courtesan songs and music of the Bauls

In search of music performed for Krishna, Lucy Duran and the musician Viram Jasani find themselves in a brothel in Kolkata, India. Plus music by the tantric philosophers of rural Bengal, the Bauls.

In search of music performed for Krishna, Lucy Duran and the musician Viram Jasani find themselves in a brothel in Kolkata, India.

Squeezed into a sleazy little bed-sit, two courtesan sisters perform songs for the Hindu Deity, rarely recorded and normally reserved for their paying clients.

Plus the mad world of the Bauls – music by the tantric philosophers of rural Bengal.

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1 hour

Music and featured items

  • Central Kolkata

    Lucy Duran and Viram Jasani in central Kolkata.

    Duration: 07:07

  • Music Played

    • Kanchanji Misra and Madhuriji Singh with their musicians

      Dadra

      • BBC recording on location.
    • Kanchanji Misra and Madhuriji Singh with their musicians

      Thumri

      • BBC recording on location.
  • The dying art of the classically trained courtesan.

    'The Singing House'.

    Duration: 07:46

  • Music Played

    • Kanchanji Misra and Madhuriji Singh with their musicians

      Kajeri

      • BBC recording on location.
  • An allegory of love.

    The meaning of the lyrics the courtesans sing

    Duration: 06:40

  • Music Played

    • Kanchanji Misra and Madhuriji Singh with their musicians

      Chaiti

      • BBC recording on location.
  • The music of the 'Bauls'

    On the road to hear the music of the Bauls.

    Duration: 08:06

  • Music Played

    • Baul musicians from rural Bengal

      Kalpana Dasi (Krishna song)

      • BBC recording on location.
  • The culture of the Bauls.

    In their remote village community.

    Duration: 06:50

  • Music Played

    • Baul musicians from rural Bengal

      Traditional Baul song

      • BBC recording on location.
  • The musical instruments of the Bauls.

    Some unique to their tradition.

    Duration: 10:14

  • Music Played

    • Baul musicians from rural Bengal

      Tinkari Das

      • BBC recording on location.
  • A Pan shop

    A local delicacy.

    Duration: 07:23

  • Music Played

    • Rani Dewi, Pramod Kumar Singh, Papulal Nal, Ravinder Kumar Misra

      Dadra song with dance (Gagare juna maro)

      • BBC recording on location.
  • Varanasi

    Music of Krishna and the Gopis.

    Duration: 04:12

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