Mumbai: Whistling Woods International (WWI) students, apart from acquiring skills in all aspects of film making, will now also be taught a new course called International Art, Literature and Culture (IALC).
The course is intended to generate space around these skills, space that would bring them into close intimate contact with creative practitioners in the arts as well as in humanities; through "Encounters", they will have the opportunity to experience the life of an artist, and a sense of adventure and joy that surrounds the life long commitment to whatever they decide to do. The Freshman class at WWI had a rewarding experience recently, when they were invited to actively participate in a high energy performance of world music by Babukishan Baul, internationally renowned as the Baul Prince.
Even as a student of philosophy and music at Kolkata, his early years were spent performing with his family of renowned Baul singers at global festivals and on world radio and television. The Baul Prince has performed with and recorded with music greats such as Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Miles Davis, Mick Jagger, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Ustad Zakir Hussain, R D Burman and many others. He is also a film composer and music director.
Before performing, he spoke briefly about the Baul traditions, their music being "a celebration of being human". The students began to respond to what appeared at first, as "traditional, distant and unfamiliar". With just a one-stringed instrument- the ektara as an accompaniment, Babukishan did not just play music; it appeared as if music oozed from his soul and poured upon his simple instrument with that essence. While he began with traditional Bengali songs including a few of Rabindranath Tagore’s works he soon had the audience mesmerised by his own brand of new age Bengali Folk Fusion, which was complemented by a dancer whose movements were almost as if in an ecstatic trance. As a finale to an enervating learning session, the students too, were on-stage in a spontaneous "jam session" – in a joyous celebration of the power of music and of life itself