Organization - Kala Varso Trust

Kala Varso Trust
Basic Information
English Kala Varso Trust
Local language
Country India
Category General NGO
Domain Oral Traditions and Expressions
Performing Arts
Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
Function Education and Training
Established year 2012
  • To revive the traditional music and art forms associated traditionally with various ethnic communities of the Kutch region
  • To ensure that the folk musicians keep getting regular invitations to perform
  • To create a strong social media presence and resource media centre so as to reach more and more people
  • To provide platform where the new generation feel encouraged to take up their traditional family art and creative forms forward
  • To identify villages, particularly those that are cut off and very interior and provide artisans from these regions necessary means and tools to again take up their traditional occupations so that they can create an identity of their own.

Traditionally, knowledge sharing platforms like Reyan, played a very vital role in upholding the value system and binding the society together. In Reyan, folk musicians sing and expound the poetry of Jesal Thoral, Shah Abdul Latif, Kabir, Meera, Sufi etc. and after the musical performance people share their knowledge and discuss any issues facing them. The primary goal of Kala Varso is to revive the traditional Reyan and use traditional folk music as a tool for development and social movement. Kala Varso links the global audience to the culture, folk music/art and stories/legends of the Kutch region.

Kala Varso has been founded with an aim to not only preserve the rich musical tradition and culture of Kutch, but to make all possible advances in the areas of Introduction Folk Music, Folk Art and Culture. It also looks forward to financial security for the musicians, singers and artists. It aims to work in collaboration with musicians, singers and artisans for their betterment and to resolve the issues that arise due to conflict between tradition and modernity in this hitherto uninterrupted discourse of Kutch. Kala Varso is run by the artists themselves with the objective to make artisans active participants and take up initiatives in tackling the issues pertaining to their communities and villages rather than  wait passively for external help to arrive.

Major Activities

Revival of Reyans

The main goal of Kala Varso is to revive the traditional Reyan and use traditional folk music as a tool for development and social movement.Kala Varso successfully achieved the goal of reviving the traditional Reyan. Now once a month a Reyan is held in a village decided for that month. With wide media coverage, more and more folk music artisans are coming forward   and becoming part of Kala Varso to keep the traditions alive. There is also a wide   renewed interest from the audience. Till date 210 folk music artisans have performed through Reyans and more than 37 Reyans were performed in the last 5 years covering various far and remote villages of Kutch.


Creating a platform for Kutch Folk Music

The other main objective of the organization is to provide a platform to the artists for presenting their art. Revival of Reyan provided a congenial atmosphere for both the new and experienced artists connect and perform at the same platform and resulted in exchange of skills. Reyan educates such new artists on pre-preparation for their stage-presentations and develops the sense of correct notation and tuning (correct pitching), rhythm and word. Thus, these Reyans inspired the artists to bring out their skills and efforts were also made to solve their problems.

This skill enhancement and the wide media coverage resulted in gaining visibility by audience from outside the Kutch region. Last year we had 14 performances at national and international level through various organisations like Kendriya Sahitya Academy, Ruhaniyat – Banyan Tree events etc and participated in festivals like World Mouth Harp Festival in Goa, Kutch Kala Utsav in Mumbai and also in a Music Festival in Brazil. This is also bringing in steady income generation to the Folk Musicians of Kutch.


Reyaz Shala Project, 2015 to present:

The Reyaz Shala project was formulated in 2015 to help not only revive the Folk Music Traditions of Kutch, but also bring in a focused and qualitative development in the areas of Folk Music of Kutch that is both economically sustainable, and generates enthusiasm among the young generation of Folk Musicians to take up their craft, and evoke a special interest in the global audience for the Kutch Folk Music and Culture. To that effect, we were able to make significant progress in the last two years.

Key Milestones achieved in 2016-17.

  • The Folk musicians under the training program in this phase, learned to impart Raag in their singing and music. Without Raag, the folk musicians lacked the emotional depth in their songs. With this training, the folk musicians not only learned the context behind the songs they are singing but also breathe in new life to the songs they have been singing traditionally.
  • Innovation: Deval Mehta worked on this project intensively with the Kutch folk musicians with the focus on inculcating some ideas of Indian classical music ragas and it’s peculiar and subtle ascending and descending movement of scales into the folk songs which the folk musicians are already familiar with. It helped the folk musicians to convey the full meaning of the songs and improvise on it to present the same folk song in different ways.
  • Triveni Sangam – Confluence of Folk Music, Classical Music and Old Hindi Film songs: For example, during the performance, the Folk Artists did Raag Bhupali for the traditional Kutch Folk Music Aaradhiwani Bhajan – “Saaro Sansoriyo Kubti Nao Bhariyal”. And using the same Raag Bhupali and Kutch Folk Music Instruments, the musicians performed the old Lata Mangeshkar song: pankh hote to udh aati re rasiya ho balma song from the movie Sehra (1963) ; and they also sang the Lakshan Geet from Indian Classical Music in Raag Bhupali.
  • New thinking: Now when the folk musicians listen to a song on TV or radio their urge is to find the raag in which the song is sung and relate it to the folk song they can sing to in that raag. Bhairvi Raag
  • The aim was to educate the folk musicians and the audience about various ragas and train folk musicians in Voice Culture and also an experiment to invoke interest in Folk music among urban audience.
  • Jugalbandhi: as the folk musicians did not have any formal classical music background, they find it very difficult to perform fusion music as it would require an ear to pick up the Raag of the other performers. But this training program helped the folk artists overcome this hurdle. This was evident when Kala Varso performed at the Lakme Fashion Show in Mumbai, where the Folk musicians performed Jugalbandi of Kutch Folk music with Western instruments, and was received with applause.
  • The current generation of folk musicians, lack proper knowledge of the actual meaning and context behind the Folk songs nor can play in proper Sur, Tal and The aim to create an audio-visual library is to serve as proper tutorials for the young generation of folk musicians and also act as music modules in schools for children, to learn and play the Kutch Folk Music in its actual form, before trying to innovate or improvise on it.Audio, Visual and written documentation of Kutch Folk Music – Ongoing project1) For centuries, different communities in different areas of Kutch have very well sustained their music that they have traditionally inherited from generations. These folk music traditions of Kutch have been handed down from one generation to another orally. But due to snapping of traditional community linkages the folk music does not hold the same relevance as in the past. The new generation of folk musicians in search of livelihood options, don’t have the time or resources to imbibe their music traditions fully. As a result, the proper knowledge of the Folk Music and Folklore is left with only few elderly artists and if not documented immediately, there is great danger of losing this valuable knowledge forever.
Contact Information (Organization)
Address Sanjot Nagar, Rudrani, PO. Kunariya, Ta.Bhuj, Kutch – 370001. Gujarat, India.
Tel +91 94290 30567

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