Teejan Bai to take her folk charms to France, Romania

BHILAI: The noted Pandwani folk singer, Teejan Bai who leaves for her month-long trip to France, Romania and Mauritius on Saturday night has some
advice for Indian women: Dress up in the sari to maintain the ethnic look and create a brand image for the country.

And to be enhance their beauty, she suggests vermilion and a tika. Tejan Bai, who had visited France four times since 1986, feels the Chhattisgarhi tribal women are more beautiful than the French women. The folk singer who was awarded the Padma Bhusan and the honoris causa D Litt by Bilaspur University this year for providing the genre of Pandwani singing an international stature, told Times News Network that even the western audience was receptive to her folk songs.

She said the music transcended the language barrier in Paris and she danced with the children who attended her programme. ‘‘I sing in Chhattisgarhi and the children liked the translated versions too,’’ Teejan Bai claimed. A young couple had even come to Bhilai to learn more about the Pandwani folk songs of Mahabharat. Teejan Bai is not interested in launching any school or college to promote Pandwani folk songs as she says she is still a probationer.

‘‘I have to learn a lot myself,’’ she says. The five members of her troupe are illiterate like her. All of them are agriculture labourers and find it hard to join her on her tours as they will be deprived of their wages. She is firmly against promoting Pandwani folk songs through commercial films as this would destroy the spiritual side of Mahabharat items. ‘‘Our culture and tradition will get polluted if Pandwani is allowed in films. Money is not everything.

I want to preserve the originality of my folklore. Musical instruments for songs in commercial films will dilute the originality of Pandwani folk songs. Tabla, harmonium, tamboora and damru are enough to promote Pandwani,’’ she insists. Teejan bai had given a new dimension to Chhattisgarhi and Indian folk-culture by blending the Chhattisgarhi tradition of song with acting and expression and brought Pandwani to international stature.

The folk profile of her Pandwani singing has evolved from an astonishing combination of traditional Vedmati and Kapalik style of acting, making it full of vitality and vigour enthrilling the audience to the ultimate sublime of folk culture.