The musical documented Bhojpuri album “The legacy of Bhikhari Thakur” on the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri literature – Bhikhari Thakur, has been nominated in this year’s GIMA 2013 (Global Indian Music Academy) awards in Best Folk Album category.
GiMA 2013 the biggest annual celebration of Indian Music, also known as Indian Oscars announced its nominees in the non-film music category for its 4th edition. An initiative by Wizcraft International Entertainment, GiMA is a pioneering effort to recognize Indian music, transcending genres in the country giving the music industry a unified platform to celebrate its talent.
A Bhojpuri music album for Rs.195. Quite unusual, most would say, but singer Kalpana Patowary has clinched that deal with London based music label EMI/Virgin Records and for the first time nominated for such a prestigious award. The album was released by His Excellency, Prime Minister of Mauritius Mr Anil Kr Bachoo & Arts & Cultural Minister Mr Mookhesswur Choonee in the Prime Minister’s office in Mauritius. The album already has a phenomenal hype in the market. The subject of her musical exploration (Songs on Migration @http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/notes-migration) — Bhikari Thakur — is unusual too, where not many have ventured. “My aim is to reach the classes, introduce Bhikari Thakur’s work and legacy on an international platform, so it needed that kind of pricing. Bhojpuri music isn’t just about double-meaning songs — even I have sung so many — and that’s what I want to highlight through this work,” explains the artiste, who has also sung and produced the album.
A devoted vocalist, Kalpana Patowary has been hailed as a prodigy in the world of Bhojpuri music and is the reigning star of the Bhojpuri popular music industry for the past ten years, Coming from humble origins as the daughter of a folk musician from Assam, her own rise as an artist is an equally fascinating story, as his her ascendance as an Assamese Bhojpuri vocalist. “She gave Bhojpuri Music a new twist”. Critic wrote that she changed the art of Bhojpuri vocals.
Emotional Kalpana said – GIMA yani Global Indian Music Award (Indian Oscars) ka manch Bhojpuri Sangeet ke liye ek aitihasik chharn hai. Kai baar maine apne aap se sawal kia-kahin mai galat raah pe to nahi chal padi hu! aaj jab har artiste Bollywood aur glamour ke peechhe bhag raha hai, waise me mai kyon Bhikhari Thakur aur Bhupen Hazarika ki raah pe chal padi…lekin aaj mai bohut khushi se elaan karna chati hu, meri us soch ko GIMA ne galat sabit kar dia..GIMA jury ko mai dhanyabaad deti hu..Bhikhari Thakur nominated hone ka matlab hamare liye sirf ek samman nahi hai…GIMA ..aapne Bhojpuri sangeetik sanskriti ko tamaam bhartiya bhashayo ke saath jagah deke, hamari astitwa ki raksha ki hai…Bhojpuri boli abhi bhi bhasha banne ke liye tadap rahi hai..ise abhi bhi sanbhidhanik swikriti prapt nahi hui hai…asikshit Bhikhari Thakur jo ki hajamat karte the…who bhale hi padhe likhe nahi the ..lekin gyani zarur the..unko mai naman karti hu..aur U.P-Bihar-Jharkhand samet tamam Bhojpuri logo se ashirwaad mangti hu…ye award Bhikhari Thakurji ko hi mile..kyonki meri samajh se aajbhi wo sangharsh kar rahe hai…wo jagah hum unko nahi de paye jiska wo haqdaar hai…
Titled The Legacy of Bhikari Thakur, the album comprising nine tracks.
So, who was Bhikari Thakur and how did an Assamese artiste who has been singing Bhojpuri songs for over ten years come to a point where she could no longer ignore his work?
“For an average person of Bihar, Bhikari Thakur is the Shakespeare of Bhojpuri literature, who was born in 1887 in a village called Kutubpur responsible for creating a theater form called Bidesia. Here and there a few of his songs have been used, but I would say people are still largely ignorant about his work. He had with his music and writing dared to talk about such issues, that too at that time. For instance, he has written about a woman in a village whose husband leaves the village to work in a but she still has physical desires, so she gets involved with another man and has a child. He was raising the issues of unemployment and migration at that time. I felt there was a need to raise awareness regarding his work.”
All the tracks on the album were written by Bhikari Thakur, and Kalpana, using minimal acoustics, tries to retain the original flavour. The album starts from “Bhikari parichay”, an auto-biographical narrative rendered by Kalpana.
In one of the tracks, ‘Kalyug prem’, Bhikari Thakur talks about the anguish of women whose husbands have taken to drinking. “Born into a family of barbers, he, like so many fellow natives, moved to Calcutta for work. There when he saw the difference between the social conditions of his village and Calcutta and came to learn of Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s work in that direction, he was deeply affected.” Surprisingly, the man who went on to pen songs questioning the redundant ways and customs of the society of those times was an unlettered man initially. “It was a baniya in Calcutta who taught him to read and write,” she adds.
He came back to his village a changed man and formed Bhikari Thakur Natak Mandali. He went around performing his plays with a view to raise awareness.
Kalpana was lucky to find a dancer from that troupe in his village. “Now 105, he helped me a lot. I documented him and then tried to authenticate and check the pronunciations and spellings in the book Bhikari Thakur Ratnavali by Rashtra Bhasha Parishad. There was hardly any material available on him in the market.”
The legacy of Bhikhari Thakur nominated in Best Folk Album