Parvathy Baul (born 1976) is a Baul folk singer, musician and storyteller from Bengal and one of the leading Baul musicians in India. Trained under Baul gurus, Sanatan Das Baul, Shashanko Goshai Baul in Bengal, she has been performing both in India and other countries since 1995.
She is married to Ravi Gopalan Nair, a noted Pava Kathakali glove puppet artist, and is based in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, since 1997, where she also runs, “Ektara Baul Sangeetha Kalari” a school for Baul music.
Early life and background
PARVATHY AT KOLKATA, 2015
Parvathy Baul was born as Mousumi Parial, in a traditional Bengali Brahmin family in West Bengal. Her family was originally from East Bengal, and migrated to West Bengal after the partition of India. Her father, an engineer with the Indian Railways, was keen on Indian classical music and often took his daughter to concerts.
Her mother, a housewife, was a devotee of mystic saint Ramakrishna. Due to her father’s posting at various locations in the region, she grew up in Assam, Cooch Behar, and bordering areas of West Bengal. She passed higher secondary examination from Sunity Academy,Cooch Behar.
In her early years, she learnt Kathak, a classical dance, from Srilekha Mukherjee. She received training as a visual artist at Kala Bhavan, an art school in Santiniketan (Visva-Bharati University). Though she received her early music training in Hindustani classical music, it was on a train to Shantiniketan campus, that she first heard a blind Baul singer, performing the traditional music of mystic minstrels from Bengal.
This was followed by meeting Phulmala Dashi, a woman Baul singer who frequented the campus. Soon, she started learning music from Phulmala and also visited several Baul ashrams, later Phulamal advised her to find another teacher. During this period, she watched a performance by Sanatan Das Baul, an 80-year-old Baul singer from the Bankura in West Bengal.
Deciding to learn from him, she visited his ashram in Sonamukhi in Bankura district. After 15 days, she received her diksha initiation from him, and he became her first guru. For the next seven years, she travelled with her guru, providing vocal support during performances, learning Baul songs, Baul dance, and playing ektara and duggi, a small kettle-drum strapped to the waist.
Finally, he allowed her to sing on her own and soon she was led to her next guru Shashanko Goshai Baul. Goshai, who was 97-year-old at the time and lived in Khoirboni, a small village in the Bankura district. He was initially hesitant to take on a female disciple, thus tested her dedication for a few days, before taking her on. In the remaining three years of his life, he taught her numerous songs, and intricacies of the Baul tradition.
– Source Wikipedia