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Purna das Baul

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Biography

The direct descendant of Ananta Goswami, a well known Baul guru in the late nineteenth century, Purna Das Baul represents the eighth generation of a traditional Baul lineage. He spent his childhood accompanying his father Nabani Das Kapha Baul, the legendary Baul singer, mystic poet, and yogi, who was a close friend of the Nobel Prize winning poet Rabindranath Tagore. Purna Das Baul is responsible for raising awareness of this unique Baul tradition in the rest of the Indian subcontinent and the West. He was recognized as Baul Samrat (“King of the Bauls”) by the then president of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, in 1967. He received another President’s Award for his work in 1999 from Shri K. R. Narayan.

In India, Purna Das has brought Baul music to the attention of a wide public through concerts, performances at religious festivals, and numerous recordings. He first came to the U.S. in the late 60s, invited by Albert Grossman, manager of Bob Dylan and Peter, Paul and Mary. He was befriended by Dylan and poet Alan Ginsberg, with whom he resonated as “Western Bauls.”

In 1968, Purna Das appeared with Dylan on the cover of the latter’s album, John Wesley Harding. In addition to working with Dylan and The Band, Purna Das shared the stage with artists such as Ravi Shankar, Mahalia Jackson, Joan Baez, and Gordon Lightfoot.


In addition to numerous recordings in India, Purna Das Baul has released a number of recordings in Europe and North America on labels such as Electra, Nonesuch, CramWorld, and Womad.

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