Some thousand miles from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Bhojpuri artistic musical tradition is raw and in its pure form here in the Carribean Islands. The Mighty Ganga can be separately identified even after its blende with the Atlantic Ocean. Sohar, Baithak Gana, Bhajan – Kirtan, Vivaah Geet all took me to a time different zone, says the Bhojpuri singer Kalpana. Near about 150 years ago all these people from India – U.P – Bihar migrated as laborers leaving behind their kith and kin. They were all poor people who took their cultural and spiritual belief with them as their valuables. Lots of mental turmoil they faced and many survived to death. Today they stand high in these lands. Again its unity in diversion as they mixed and exchanged their cultural beliefs with different races dominant there. It’s interesting for me as after all these years as a Bhojpuria musical Ambassador from India. I get to witness, to live their moments of my life.
First, one part of Bhojpuri music is still safe and pure in its raw form of what it was 170 years before. I felt some connection with “The Legacy of Bhikhari Thakur”……The dholak theka and rhythm style is much the same. And secondly, a part known as Chutney – Soca songs, which back in India I got the opportunity to sing in thousands of song. All the raunchy numbers blended with calypso and Caribbean beats with Bhojpuria dholak.It sounded more peppy and groovy to me.
The commemoration of the Indian migration is always on the 5th of June. On that day the Surinamese government and people of the Indian Diaspora pay tribute to the Indian ancestors at the statue of ‘Baba and Mai’ (Father and Mother). This statue is situated at the spot where the first laborers entered Suriname on June 5th, 1873, in the then so called “Coolie depot”.
The National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) jump starts Indian Arrival Day celebrations with a showcase of Bhojpuri film and folk songs.
The council will present famous Bhojpuri singer, Kalpana Patowary, who comes from Assam in India, on stage in concert tonight at District Wanica in Suriname on May 22, 2014 at 7 pm.
The concert series would continue until Indian Arrival Day.
According to the president of the NCIC, Patowary was chosen as she is considered the “new wave” in Bhojpuri film and folk songs.
“Her song style comes from the same Uttar Pradesh Bihar tradition of folk songs which the Indian indentured labourers brought to Suriname 135 years ago,” the council said.
“Songs such as “Sohar,” “Byaah Geet,” “Chowtaal,” “Ulara,” “Birha,” and “Nirgun” that are heard inthe international Indian diaspora. Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, Mauritius, Fiji represent cultural expressions form the Bhojpuri folk tradition, a tradition that is indeed the specialty of Kalpana”.
Kalpana who is at the helm of the Bhojpuri music industry, says “Bhojpuri music is seeped with stories of migration and has an entire spectrum ranging from lyrical to raunchy to folk and pop that can’t be categorized.