Sailing on the Sea of Love

The Music of the Bauls of Bengal

Charles Capwell


6 x 9inches, 242pp. 2010

ISBN : 978 0857420046

Rs  525.00 (PB)
$25.00 (PB)
£16.00 (PB)

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Based on fieldwork carried out in West Bengal during 1969–71, this pioneering study is a concise monograph that focuses on the Baul song in both its musical and textual aspects. In the first five chapters, the groundwork is laid for contextualizing and understanding the role the Baul song plays in the lives of the Bauls themselves, and in the experience and imagination of their fellow Bengalis; in the last five chapters, the sometimes enigmatic texts of songs are illuminated, their musical components clarified and their realization in the course of performance examined. An overview of some fundamental beliefs and practices of the Bauls is related to some of their historical precedence. The way in which the reception of the Bauls by wider society has changed provides a picture of the evolving nature of ‘tradition’. The author reflects on this continuing evolution with some observations on the startling developments that has brought this sect from the relative obscurity of a regional culture to the international forum.

This volume is accompanied by a set of two CDs. 

Charles Capwell holds a Ph.D. in musicology from Harvard University and was on the faculty of the School of Music at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for 30 years. A former editor of the journal Ethnomusicology, his further work in West Bengal concentrated on Sourindro Mohun Tagore at the interface with colonial culture. His more recent research has been on the nexus between popular music and Islam in Indonesia.


Culture Studies