Rukma Bai, history-making Folk Singer, dies

Video-Beschreibung von ndtv – 22.07.2011

Rukma Bai was an amazing folk singer from Barmer, Rajasthan. The first woman from the Mahangniyar community to sing in public. She died today.

Worlds Alon Manganiyar Lady Singer Rukma Bai

Video-Beschreibung von chandanbhati – 17.03.2011

Ramsar village, Barmer, Rajasthan. „Desert dreams sting as sharply as the desert sun,“ Rukma Bai warns.

At five in the morning, you can already feel against your skin, the sun sucking the chill out of the desert dawn. Memories of Rukma Bai piercing the night with her powerful rendition of Kesariya balam, give way to the sounds of a morning raga. We clamber out of our sleeping bags to the words of a playful bhajan, about a young Krishna talking to birds. The ’nandlal‘ in the bhajan is clearly her grandchild, who plays by her side as she makes bajre ki roti with lehsan ki chutney. Our breakfast.

Rukma Bai lost both her legs to polio. She drags herself on the stubs of her knees, burnt repeatedly by the scorching earth. It’s painful, she says, but less so than some episodes in her life. Her husband left her, ran away with her sister. She had to bring up three children. Recurrent drought killed all her cattle. With no legs to walk on, she could not go, like others, to work at drought-relief sites. Hunger threatened her children, which is when Komal Kothari, ethnomusicologist and unrivalled expert in desert music, suggested she sing in concerts, in public, for money.

„When a Manganiyar baby cries, it is in the tune of a raga.“

„If I cut you, blood will flow. If you cut me, there will be blood, but with it sand and music will flow too.“ …