Man of the Heart in January-February 2010


Man of the Heart is based on the life and times of Lalon Shah Phokir, the nineteenth century Bengali Sufi saint and song-maker, whose fame stretches across the political and religious borders dividing Bangladesh and West Bengal (India). It is a multi-media solo-performance incorporating live music, dance, spoken word, video and recorded audio. Without assuming any ‘character’ or ‘story’, it attempts to speak/sing/perform around the biography of Lalon Phokir.

Man of the Heart is also an exploratory piece on the body-based philosophy and the virtuosic musical practice of a sect among Bengali Sufis and Vaishnavs known as Bauls. Of them, Lalon Phokir is regarded as the greatest. He practised personally but spoke publicly through his songs. His music performance and practice em-bodied a highly syncretic philosophy that drew from diverse religious sources. He confronted orthodox fundamentalisms and preached a radically different search for divinity that could be located within the corporeal frame.

Man of the Heart is located between academic research and creativity, between deep ethnography and exhilarating mediated live performance.

Two performances took place at Loughborough University and a third, sell out performance took place at the Barbican in London.

Photos: Kevin Ryan


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