Folk music gets a contemporary lift

May 25, 2012, 07:45 IST | Ruchika Kher

A lack of avenues that offer authentic cultural acts spurred a few friends from Mumbai and Delhi to form Food Friends Folk Music (F3M), a group that will support the richness and fluidity of Folk music in an urban milieu

“All of us involved wanted to set up cultural hubs for a while. In fact, we were dabbling in similar stuff, individually, till one day after a musical soiree we simply decided to take action on these thoughts and F3M was born,” says Anupama Bose, member of F3M’s core team.

Folk artist Kalu Ram Bamaniya from Madhya Pradesh. Pic courtesy / Subinoy Das

Anupama reveals that the idea of starting something like this was to create more awareness about folk music among people living in cities and also to give a platform to this amazing talent, which is embedded at the grassroots level. “We wanted to give back in some form to these Folk artists, because frankly, they are actually the guardians of an entire treasure house of music, poetry, sounds, literature and a truly secular tradition that might otherwise die out,” she avers.

Folk beat
F3M kicked off in March this year, and has managed to hold intimate private gatherings in Delhi. Now, the group is gearing for its Mumbai chapter titled, Kabir Vaani, for which they have invited Kalu Ram Bamania from Madhya Pradesh, who sings songs that entail verses of many saint poets including Kabir, Gorakhnath and Meera.

“We see a lot of fatigue around us, where people are quite fed up of the regular content. A lot of earthy, robust music has worked phenomenally well in Bollywood in the recent past. And, for a while now, Folk music seems to be gaining acceptance. This, in turn has turned the younger crowd towards stuff that’s closer home. With exposure due to the Internet, they are aware of multi-cultural as well as aboriginal music. It’s the indigenous rhythms that more often than not catches their fancy. I see a lot of desire to connect with music outside the ‘filmy’ space; it is this gap that these gatherings and hopefully, these folk artists will attempt to fill,” believes Anupama.

Sound check
However, organising these gatherings is not a piece of cake. A lot of planning, volunteering and contributions go in to making the show a success. “But we are humbled by the tremendous response and the cooperation from people,” says Anupama.

“People have come forward to share resources so that we are able to maximise the artists’ earnings; it’s simply amazing. People came forward to share their homes and spaces for performances; the tickets in Mumbai have been sponsored by Clanergy Studios in Malad, a very reputed Director of photography (DOP) friend has actually opened up his home as hospitality for the artists.

We have youngsters who want to escort / pick up the artists and manage their stay here — it’s endless. Film technicians including Sankalp Meshram and actor Vinay Shukla have come forward to document the performance so the same can be presented to the artists to be used later as show reels,” she adds.

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