American hip-hop artistes connect with `baul` music

Kolkata: American hip-hop artistes have discovered during a recent Kolkata tour that they share much in common with the `baul` singers of West Bengal.

"I never heard her before and though I couldn`t understand the language it just went straight to my heart. We have found that hip-hop and `baul` are similar in two aspects - spirituality and touching social issues," New York-born hip-hop rapper Sheikia Norris said.

Reciprocating the feelings, Kolkata singer Malabika Brahma who follows the `Baul` mystic minstrel traditions said she also could connect with hip-hop music.

A team of young American hip-hop singers are in Kolkata under a US government programme `Next Level` which promotes civic activism and fosters cross cultural creative expression and exchange in diverse communities around the world.

Levantine Public Diplomacy`s Paul S Rockower, who has also joined the team of artistes, said both hip-hop and `baul` are mediums of expressing what is going on deep within you.

"Through music and dance we express our thoughts and feelings on what`s happening around us. So there is a spirituality angle involved into it as well as the discussion on social issues," he said explaining the common ground for `baul` and hip-hop.

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