June 15, 2004

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Home: Beat of India preserves Indian folklore
Published: 2004-05-26
Beat of India preserves Indian folklore
India Post News Service

STANFORD, CA: At Stanford University’s Bechtel International Center, a hush falls over a mixed audience of Indians and Americans. The scent of samosas lingers in the back of the room and the screen at the front reads, “Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and gaiety and life to every thing” (Plato). This screening of Colors of the Earth, the latest production of New Delhi-based organization “Beat of India”, is one of seven US screenings.

Colors of the Earth, available on DVD, is a documentary-style musical voyage across rural India. CEO and Founder of “Beat of India” Shefali Bhushan spent two years with her crew producing this film. Their goal was to help popularize traditional music. They searched high and low, from the peaks of the Himalayas to the Ganges River, to find the music formed in the dust and soil that has resonated in the Indian landscape for generations. They found this rare music through villagers willing to share their art with the world. The musicians were cooperative, and as a result, “Beat of India” has been able to make traditional Indian folk music accessible to the world community.

The music of this film reflects upon village life, toned with themes present in all human lives.  Musicians sing about topics ranging from family, marriage, monsoons, and dying, to stories of Krishna’s childhood and the journey of the soul. 

“The direct link with the day-to-day life of the people makes the folk music of India so much more compelling and unique,” said Bhushan.
Bhushan traveled in the US in May to promote her film and to share her joy of music with a wider audience. At the Stanford performance, Bhushan was the soloist in a dramatic piece (directed by NK Sharma) which wraps a narrative around Colors of the Earth to produce a multi-medium performance. Bhushan played the role of an Indian folk musician to facilitate the audience’s comprehension of the true culture of rural life.

Beat of India also produces CDs of a similar nature. The DVD of Colors of the Earth and CDs are available on Beat of India’s website: www.beatofindia.coms.

In Bhushan’s narration, she observed, “It seems as though no hand has bent these words, and no mind composed their tunes.  As if they’ve emerged from the different textures of soil, and have got their rhythm from the waterfalls, the streams, rivulets, and drops of rain.”

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