Over the years, Indian folk music has influenced the lives of many with its growing popularity. It has established itself as a repository of traditional values, collective memories and a rich oral heritage preserved through stories of love and devotion, struggle and redemption. And through it all, folk music has never failed to fulfil its promise of giving its listeners a sense of belonging. Through the initiative of #ArtMatters, Teamwork Fine Arts Society celebrates the cultural heritage of folk music and honours the artistes who carry forth the legacy of folk culture.
After the landmark success of I Believe Art Matters 2020 and 2021, a part of the larger #ArtMatters initiative, Teamwork Fine Arts Society is back with the third instalment of I Believe Art Matters, which will run from 5th -28th August, 2022. I Believe Art Matters 2022: Folk Edition will present 4 individual pieces showcasing stellar performances and inspiring stories that represent and support Indian folk artistes. This year the initiative will be presented by the Sheela Kanoria Foundation.
Talking about the initiative, Avik Roy, Senior Executive Producer, Teamwork Arts, said, “IBAM Folk Edition is our small initiative to support, document, and begin preserving our deeply rooted folk traditions. The folk arts are the bedrock of our culture. They are a true representation of the vibrancy & diversity that exists in our country. Yet, like so many artistes and art forms, they are underfunded and underappreciated. The folk artistes we’re about to showcase are some of the most talented artistes in India, and honestly, we feel blessed just to be able to work with them and platform them and their craft. We are deeply grateful to the Sheela Kanoria Foundation for supporting this year’s initiative and we hope we can continue our efforts to support, platform and invest in folk artistes and such artistic collaborations in the future.”
Anjana Somany, Founder-Director, Mango Tree Tours and Exhibitions, said, “While the world is embracing the digital revolution and hopping on every popular trend, folk arts unfortunately are being relegated to the margins. The Sheela Kanoria Foundation, which is my mother’s foundation, focuses on supporting girl child education and programmes that nurture and preserve our cultural heritage. With my over three decade long association in the folk art and craft space, I urged Art Matters to create a series where folk artists would take centre stage.”
This year’s artist line-up includes celebrated musician Susheela Raman, who will collaborate with the renowned Baul singer, Kanai Das. The two exceptional singers will come together to create a piece of musical magic as they sing the song ‘Syama Ma’. Sharing her thoughts on the collaboration, Raman said, “I met Kanai about fifteen years ago and was mesmerised by his voice, and the way he delivered a song…something about Kanai’s singing was very haunting. I spent some time at his house in Tarapith, West Bengal, learning to sing with him and he taught me this song ‘Syama Ma’. So when the idea of this collaboration came up it seemed like a lovely opportunity to do this song together.”
The lineup also includes Mooralala Marwada with Kutch Folk Musicians. Mooralala Marwada is a Sufi folk singer from the Janana village of the Kutch District in Gujarat and he hails from a long line of Meghwal singers. Along with Kutch Folk Musicians, he will be delivering a beautiful performance of ‘Chodhke Mat Ja Ekli Banjara’.
Formed in 2008, the exemplary Ao Naga Choir is composed of university students and young working professionals of various Naga tribes from the region of Nagaland. For this initiative, the choir will be collaborating with The Gachirampara Hojagiri Cultural Troupe. The Ao Naga Choir will be singing a traditional folk song, ‘Mejensanger Naro’, and this will be accompanied with a remarkable dance performance by the Hojagiri dancers. Their collaboration will bring about a lovely fusion of an evocative song with the beauty of movements and gestures.
Phenomenal Indian bagpiper, Shyopat Julia, will narrate the inspiring tale of his journey with the mashak, an instrument that he has mastered over the years. He will also talk about how this craft has been passed down from generation to generation and the art of playing the traditional bagpipe. .
As a part of the ongoing advocacy and fundraising initiative to revitalise artistes and artisans, the previous editions were focused on providing artistes with an opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary collaborations raising awareness. The initiative has raised INR 1.13 crores so far and supported over 6000 people. The initiative supported artistes across 11 states and reached out to over 1 Million people through social media campaigns.
● An Ode To Mother Kali – Syama Ma
Performed by Susheela Raman & Kanai Das Baul
5th August, 2022
● Chodhke Mat Ja Ekli Banjara
Performed by Mooralala Marwada with Kutch Folk Musicians
12th August, 2022
● A Magical Fusion: Traditional North-Eastern Song & Dance
Performed by Aao Naga Choir with Hojagiri Dancers
19th August, 2022
● The Tale of a Rajasthani Bagpiper
Story of Shyopat Julia
26th August, 2022