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Monday, May 9, 2011

Babukishan aka Krishnendu Das Baul

COLUMN 105, MAY 1, 200
(Copyright © 2004 The Blacklisted Journalist)
A spectacular multicultural music jam featuring American master musician David Amram and a Bengali Baul from India, Babukishan Das, will highlight a booksigning party at New York's Bowery Poetry Club to celebrate the publication of BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST.

Author Al Aronowitz, a legendary New York journalist, will sign copies of his book at the club, located at 308 Bowery, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 27. As the man who introduced Allen Ginsberg to Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan to the Beatles and the Beatles to marijuana, Aronowitz likes to boast:
'the "60s wouldn't have been the same without me."

The book contains first-hand descriptions of meetings between Dylan and the Beatles that no other writer can describe because no other writer was there at the time. Also participating in the music jam will be jazz saxophonist Hayes Greenfield; Chicago blues guitarist Ladell McLin; Jazz Foundation president Wendy Oxenhorn on harmonica; Kevin Twigg on drums and John DeWitt on bass.

Babukishan Das, familiarly known as Babu, is the son of the celebrated Bengali Baul. Purna Das, whom Dylan introduced to American audiences by posing with Purna for the cover of Dylan's "John Wesley Harding? album. Purna's son, Babu, who has a hit recording on India's pop charts, has made a name for himself by writing scores for many of the films streaming out of India's film capital, known for some reason as Bollywood.

Amram, described by the Boston Globe as "the Renaissance man of American music," has also composed scores for films, including 'splendor in the Grass? and 'the Manchurian Candidate." In addition, he has composed more than 100 orchestral and chamber works, written two operas and appears as guest conductor and soloist with major orchestras around the world. He has also toured internationally with his jazz quartet.

Greenfield is well known in the New York area. Oxenhorn often appears with McLin, who has been compared to a young Jimi Hendrix. Twigg and DeWitt often accompany Amram.  Admission will be $10 at the door.  ##

I sent the above out as a press release as part of my campaign to win some recognition for BOB DYLAN AND THE BEATLES, VOLUME ONE OF THE BEST OF THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST, which is just beginning to attract the attention of book reviewers, the mainstream media and booksellers. Meanwhile, everyone who claims to have read it showers praise on me and on the book, termed  a "masterpiece? by Sally Grossman---the widow of Bob Dylan's brilliant original manager, Albert Grossman.

And here's what Ed Galing, the 87-year-old "poet laureate of Hatboro, Pennsylvania," wrote me:
". . .the book shines with wonderful memories; anecdotes, a way of writing that holds my attention and captivates me with so many intimate things that you share with the reader.  I could not put this book of yours down for a minute. i have read it over more than once, each time getting something new out of it. I love your style of writing. I also am honored to know you, a!, and enjoy your anecdotes, and your way with words. You are a great Journalist. It's to their loss that you are not, right now, working on a good newspaper, where you really belong. i hate when things go wrong for talented people like yourself, who deserve better from this world. this book will certainly take its place among great works of the past. it is history. you were indeed a part of it ... i also enjoyed your own thoughts and comments on all these celebs
vou are a genius, my friend. i am happy that you picked ME out of the crowed. after all, we are so different in every way. i am a 87 year old old fart writing, and never ever, ever having met a celebrity. except you. through you, i now can say i know the Beatles, Ginsberg, Harrison, and all those rock and roil times, that i can only read about. . ."

You can also read a more critical review by Hammond Guthrie on the Empty Mirror Books website at http://www.emptymirrorbooks.com/reviews/bob-dylan-beatles.html . The same review also appears in Counterpunch, an English publicationBut that's enough of plugging my book. My purpose here is to plug this multicultural Music jam, which stars such talented friends of mine as David Amram, Babukishan Das and the lesser known, but no less gifted Hayes Greenfield. Of course, John DeWitt and Kevin Twigg have become friends of mine by association because they regularly play in combos with Amram.

And I hope to become friends with Wendy Oxenhorn and Ladell McLin, which is why I invited them to play in this jam. I misidentified Wendy as the president of the Jazz Foundation, Actually, she is the executive director of the foundation. I first saw the two of them play behind John Sinclair while he read his poetry at a farewell party before leaving for the Netherlands. Ladell's guitar not only enthralled me but it reminded me of what a young Jimi Hendrix sounded like. I wasn't astonished to learn that Ladell's playing also reminded others of Hendrix.

Babukishan---I call him Babu---radiates energy. He has that missionary zeal found in children driven to outdo their fathers, whether consciously or not. Babu's father is the great Purna Das, who was driven to outdo his own father, Nabani Das, the great patriarch of the Bengali Bauls. Babu's drive to popularize Baul music is all-consuming. Not only does he teach, perform, and write music---most recently for India's Bollywood film mill---but he has an intense desire to fuse Baul music with various American genres.

And various American genres are what Dave Amram plays. He conducts symphony orchestras, has his own jazz group and sings rap songs he makes up on the spot. Like Babu, Dave himself is a whole show. Then we've got the jazz sax of Hayes Greenfield, an old friend, and the harmonica of Wendy Oxenhorn, who regularly accompanies the Chicago blues guitar of Ladell McLin. I predict you'll hear Ladell's name a lot in music's coming years.

Dave and Babu played together at an impromptu session arranged last December by my son, Joel Roi, but the others in this musical aggregation have never played together before. So this jam session is something of an experiment that leaves me curious as hell to hear what it's going to sound like. You can read below about the varied experience all these musicians are bringing to this jam. AND It's going to be recorded. Come witness it and hold onto your hats!
Now, come meet the cast of musicians who will be participating in this remarkable multicultural music jam. The following bios have been submitted by the musicians themselves.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Part 2 Baul History 101 .. May issue Agora National News Canada


Baul History 101.. Part 2

Babukishan & George Harrison of The Beatles

George Harrison helped Babu publish the book they are holding in 1985.. Book written by Babu, Krishnendu Das Baul...  Even though Babu wrote this book he never received a penny from it.. He gave copies to everybody and any copies sold went to his Baul family in Kolkata.
Story by Babukishan Das Baul
Article by Trishula Sandra Das
Bauls do not care for rules and regulations of the orthodox religions they are freedom (moksha) liberation seekers, the original bhakti yogi’s from West Bengal India. Bauls were the newspaper before the printed newspaper with a twist they are spiritual Guru’s, and spiritual messenger of the eternal truths of India. They believe in humanity, they do not negate the body, however this does not mean the body is the focus of everything. To them we are all divine gifts and our bodies are our temples, music is the path, actually you could call them Yogi sound healers of India.

The divine in the form of Radha and Krishna reside in the soul located on the altar of the heart within the human body. This is where the rasa lila dance takes place. The ekatara or Gopi Chand, one stringed musical instrument is the Bauls symbol of unity and peace. Bauls are lovers of Hari, of the divine, ecstatic mystical lovers, they are honey bees gathering the rasa (juice) grinding this juice into the pure love of God intoxication.

Manju Das, Purna Das Baul, and son Krishnendu Das Baul aka Babukishan

The first Baul to wander far from the streets of Bengal was Purna Das Baul . As a young lad he pioneered Baul singing on the trains in British India at the tender age of 7 or 8, which eventually led him to all of India, Russia, America to Woodstock and just about every country in the World many times over for the past 60 years. Over the years he noticed everybody making money off of the Bauls, he felt the Bauls should be paid for what they do, they have families and the old ways of survival no longer work. Purna was an advocate of lifting the Bauls up he felt the Bauls should be the only ones gaining from their songs. Everybody was fundraising for their temples always saying, "oh come and sing a song for Krishna," the Bauls became the greatest fundraisers for everybody. Now it is time to raise funds for their own survival and preservation.

Purna Das Baul brought Baul to the world and Babukishan his eldest son, did all of the leg work organizing the tours, making contacts for performances at theatre halls, univerisities, radio, television and festivals around the world. They preformed concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York opening doors for all Bauls to follow, they created history all credit goes to them and their lineage as pioneering Bauls of Bengal,India.

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1940) the great Nobel peace prize winner, writer, and poet started the Pous Mela in honour of Babukishan's grandfather Baul Saint Nabani Das Khyappa Baul. Rabindranath created this festival to bring all the poets of the world together and to preserve Bengali culture in Shantiniketan, he named the bridge at the Pous Mela, Nabani Setu (Bridge on Ajoy River,Birbhum,West Bengal) after Sri Nabani Das Baul as he was the first Baul to be introduced through the Pous Mela (Poetry & Baul Festival).

Nabani Das Baul
Nabani Das Baul was the biggest attraction for the JaiDev Mela , (Baul festival in honour of the Poet JaiDev who authored the Gita Govinda.) Rabindranath said, "Nabani you always go to the JaiDev Mela why not start the Pous Mela in Shantiniketan to bring together all the poets and storytellers from around the world." Nabani Das Baul was not any regular Baul he was a Saint, millions of people all over India would come to see him.

Babu was blessed as he was born into Nabani's care for the first 8 years of his life, Nabani named Babu, Krishnendu healed his crooked limbs and carried him around India giving him darshan with the most important spiritual Guru's that were alive in the 60's. To Nabani Das, Babu was his Bala Krishna, he was addicted to his little Krishna Das.

Rabindranath Tagore photographed Nabani Das Baul you can view these photographs in the Royal British Museum in London,  Tagore installed a Statute dedicated to Nabani Das Khyappa Baul it was sculptured by world renowned Ramkinkar Baij. Tagore gave Nabani Das the"Khyappa" name before this  there were no Bauls named "Khyappa" many of Nabani’s students took the name Khyappa after Nabani passed away in 1970, Pare Khyappa,Manohar khyappa or Nitai khyappa among them. Now many Bauls call themselves Khyappa without knowing where the name came from. Our lineage is that of Das Goswami, gosai or Dasi and any Bauls using this title are in some way related to our lineage.
There were also many eminent painting and drawing done of Nabani Das Khyappa Baul by renowned Bengal painters who were also his well wishers and friends Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, M.F.Hussain to name a few.
It was American Poet Allen Ginsberg who met Nabani Das Baul in the early 60’s, Ginsberg called Nabani Das his Guru and the 8th wonder of the world. Allen wrote about Nabani Das Baul in the New York times. Nabani’s preference was to remain anonymous before Allen Ginsberg came to Bengal there were others who also wrote about him and recorded his music from Europe and Japan. Nabani did not want anybody making a big deal about him, he did not want anybody even to know who he was thus we have him almost forgotten about in the history of West Bengal.

Allen Ginsberg and Babukishan in the 1980's

In more recent times the Bauls of Bengal were at the legendary first Woodstock in 1969 in New York, thanks, to Allen Ginsberg and Bob Dylan's manager Albert B Grossman. You will hear of Ravi Shankar and Swami SatChidAnanda but for some reason Purna Das Baul and his younger brother Laxman Das Baul have not been mentioned, perhaps because they did not stay in America..

Purna Das Baul and his younger brother can be seen on the cover of Bob Dylan's album, "John Westly Harding" the photo originates from 60's Woodstock.

"Baul of Bengal, I sing for all, Blue Danube is Jamuna, Hudson  my Vrindavan, see me in Kolkata, Toronto, London, Hear my call Baul of Bengal, Same man many names, same player, many games, Love is magic to win at life...Hear my call O Baul of Bengal."  By Allen Ginsberg written for BabuKishan

Allen Ginsberg’s Guru being Babu’s Grandfather, 'Nabani Das Khyappa Baul' wrote this poetry for Next generations Baul Leader Babukishan Das Baul and dedicating it to Nabani Das. Babukishan composed music for this piece of poetry in collaboration with Garth Hudson, Robbie Robertson, Levon Helm, they sang this song when they went  tour with Bob Dylan and The Band in 1985. Babu and his parents toured all over American in the East to West Tour with Bob Dylan.

Babu and his family played on stage in London for Rolling Stone’s concerts, fundraisers for Bangladesh Flood victims. They played in the Indian Music section in 1971, 1972, and 1978 in Hyde Park in front of thousands. The Rolling Stones produced an Album called 'Jai Bangla', Babu along with his family spent a week at Mick Jagger’s mansion in Nice France while Purna Das Baul was recorded  on this album. This was the beginning of a long relationship between the Rolling Stones and  Babu he last saw the Rolling Stones in 2004 Mumbai. Millions of people would come to see Purna Das the fame he achieved unfortunately created much jealousy among some of the New age Bauls, it almost proved fatal one year when he was poisoned at the famed JaiDev Baul festival.

"Wikipedia is completely wrong on the subject of Baul. This is about preserving an ancient Lineage not creating one."
The pioneers who brought Baul outside of India are this lineage Baul family, Sri Nabani Das Baul, Purna Das Baul, his wife the late Manju Das, their eldest son Babukishan aka Krishnendu Das Baul, for more than 60 years.

Babukishan aka Krishnendu Das Baul -
Baul Guru
BA Indian Philosophy, MA Indian Music,
12 years Vedic Monk RamaKishna Order.
Master of Indian Classical, Folk, Baul and Bollywood music.
30 years- Bollywood Music Composer.

Trishula Das has was initiated into the mystical practices of the Lineage Bauls of Bengal in 2006.
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