Oikyotaan is a research and performance based platform founded by Bonnie Chakraborty, the sound of which is rooted in the rhythm and melody of folk music. This foundation of sound is created using an equal set of unique components from Folk, Contemporary and Classical music and melding them into an interesting set of arrangements.
Centred around Baul music ( A particularly Indian version of Dervishm, as in fact the proponents of this genre of music are called Darbesh in East India) (Dehawtawtta, Biched, Bhatiyalli, Jhumur, Fakiri, Myanjbhandari and Jaree-Sharee Gaan) from Eastern India (West and East Bengal), the sound concentrates on building lyrical phrases within a layered rhythm of Contemporary, Folk and Classical instruments. Elements of different Folk forms like Mand from Rajasthan; Chaita and Neergun from Bihar; Carnatic Classical from South India are infused together to give birth to a new genre of Global Indian Contemporary Sound and Space, which is very high in spiritual content in terms of the lyrics. The aim is always to transcend the listener as well as the singer to an exalted state of being where one loses oneself to the Almighty in total bliss. The object is love in its purest state…..which is why it not surprising to see the performers routinely go into trances…and send their listeners into raptures too….this genre had a wide audience till even a few decades back even among the urban audience but has been frowned at by a surprising burst of prudery among the Indian middle class who are becoming increasingly politically correct at the cost of a unique art form.
Oikyotaan aims at reaching a space where Folk and Contemporary music complement each other without displacing the essential sound elements and aesthetics of the other.
The group is currently based out of Mumbai, India, with members from Southern and Eastern parts of India. Many of the workshops have been conducted in Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.
'The term Baul is originally derived from the word Vatula, an ancient sage who has a gothra or lineage in the Hindu religion, and is likened to to a wild or restless and unpredictable wind. The Bauls are a type of Mendicant Religious Singers wandering from village to village, celebrating God in their ecstatic songs.
Their iconic patchworked garments (known colloquially as Kantha) symbolize syncretic, eclectic and anti-structural tendencies. Theirs is the authentic voice of the spontaneous communities. Their deep spiritualism is evident from their suspicion of boundaries and their fascination with transcending them. Although today he is a householder.....traditionally he was the renouncer with only the wind as his home'.
Bonnie Chakraborty – Vocals and Khomok
Kartick Das Baul -- Vocals and Khomok
K.V. Balakrishnan -- Indian Percussions (Mridangam,Dholak, Talking Drums, Bass Dholak, Djembe, Derbouka and additional percussions)