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Bauls in Shantiniketan during the festival of colors Holi , which is called Basant Utsab ( Vasant Utsav ) there. The musicians play the plucked dotara , the plucked drum ektara , the flute banshi and the drum dhol .

Baul ( Bengali : বাউল , Bāul ) are (mostly wandering) musicians in Bengal . They form their own social, religious and mostly familial group. For centuries they have been firmly established in the rural culture of Bengal, the region divided between India and Bangladesh .

It is believed that they are heavily influenced by the Hindu - Tantric sect of the Kartabhajas . However, there are a number of elements that are found in the Muslim- Sufi tradition of Shuphi songs as well as in those of the Hindu Bhakti movements. A principle of the Baul philosophy states that the divine is not to be found in the hereafter, but in every person himself.

Although the height of the Baul movement may have been around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries and the first decades of the 20th century, there are still wandering musicians on the trains of Bengal or on foot in the country. A center is around the place Shantiniketan .

The word baul comes from Sanskrit vatul and can be translated as “crazy” or “entranced”. It refers to the ecstatic music and dance performances of the Bauls, which represent a religious practice outside of institutionalized religion.

Baul was added to the UNESCO list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005.

Musical instruments of the Bauls are the plucked drum ektara , the two- to four-stringed (double-choir) plucked lute dotara without frets, which is played with a wooden plectrum, the bamboo transverse flute banshi , the small kettle drum duggi or the larger double-headed drum dhol , the cymbal manjira , bamboo or wood kartal rattles, and in dancers the metal bells attached to their ankles rattle ghungru . The style of music of the Bauls is related to the bhatiali , the songs of the boatmen on the rivers in West Bengal and Bangladesh.


  • Charles Capwell: Sailing on the Sea of ​​Love: The Music of the Bauls of Bengal. Kent State University Press, Kent (Ohio) 1986
  • Alokeranjan Dasgupta, Mary Ann Dasgupta (transl.): Roots in the Void. Baul Songs of Bengal. KP Bagchi & Company, Calcutta 1977
  • Edward C. Dimock, Jr .: Rabindranath Tagore - "The Greatest of the Bauls of Bengal". In: The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 19, No. 1, Association for Asian Studies, November 1959, pp. 33-51
  • Josef Kuckertz : Origin and Construction of the Melodies in Baul Songs of Bengal. In: Yearbook of the International Folk Music Council, Vol. 7, 1975, pp. 85-91
  • Jeanne Openshaw: Seeking the Bauls of Bengal . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 9780521811255

Web links

Commons : Baul  - collection of images, videos and audio files