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Baul Gaan

( UNESCO Masterpiece: Proclamation 2005 )

Mystic Song (Baul Song)

Baul song is a kind of mystic song. This kind of song originated with a class of religious devotees, known as Baul.

Reasons for selection

In Bengali literature and culture, the songs of the Baul have occupied a special position. As the apparently foreign Urdu or Hindi language is really connected with the other sister languages of Indian Sub-Continent, so the songs of Baul may be deemed as having a special implication in the Bengali literature and culture.

Area where performed

All over Bangladesh (in the rural areas)

Essential elements of the performing art


Detailed explanation

The Baul songs have been in existence since time immemorial. This song is an expression of love and devotion which is sung to the accompaniment of the ektara, a single-stringed musical instrument.

Baul may be divided into several classes: Tantric Baul, Shadhak Baul, Darbeshi Baul, Kabi Baul, Guru Baul and so on. The philosophy of the Baul is based mainly on Guru Bad (cult of mystic attainment through devotion to preceptor)and Sahajia (cult of attaining high mystic experience through love of human beings.)

Local influence on the baul poet is quite apparent: This accounts for the difference between one class and another. The appeal of baul songs is irresistible: for they express the consummation of the infinite mind's quest for the eternal.

The songs by Lalon Shah and Hasan Raja are supreme examples of baul songs.
(a) Lalon Song: Lalon Shah, a remarkably gifted poet of Bangladesh. The innermost experience of human soul have found expression in his songs.
(b) Hasan Raja's songs: Another poet of the purely mystical order was Dewan Hasan Raja of Sylhet.

These two poets have attained immortality through their devotional songs.

Publication and textual documentation

not yet available

Audio documentation

Radio Bangladesh, Agargaon, Dhaka.

Visual documentation

Bangladesh Television, Rampura, Dhaka.

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

does not exist

Data provider

Azad Rozana
Research Officer, Music
Center for Education, Creative and Performing Arts
Address: 64/C Green Road, Dhaka - 1205 Bangladesh