Our rustic endeavours to find timeless tunes take us to many far-flung places. This time our destination was Shikarpur, a tiny village, literally stone’s throw away from Bangladesh border. We trudged through the undulating muddy roads laden with numerous monsoon ditches to reach the small thatched house of Kalyani Debnath, a talented self taught Bengali folk singer. In her own reckoning, she has chased her passion to support her ailing husband and to feed four hungry mouths.
She was struck by the magic of baul music at a tender age. The actual flight however took place after her marriage when she learnt few songs from a senescent Gosain of the neighbourhood. Later she was allowed by her in laws to perform in local folk music festivals. She was advised though to fix her gaze at her feet during performances and not to look up. In no time her fame travelled fast and shows came calling from different corners of Bengal, Kolkata and even from Delhi.