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At the heart of English folk

Tagore Project: The Fatal Hunt

Cross cultural song project 

In 2009, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) partnered with the Foundation for Indian Performing Arts (FIPA) for an exciting cross-cultural performance and participatory project. It drew inspiration from The Fatal Hunt (Kalmrigaya, 1882), a dance-opera written by Rabindranath Tagore, a pioneering Bengali writer, poet, artist and playwright who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. In The Fatal Hunt Tagore drew on British traditional songs, theatrical, operatic and musical forms, as well as Bengali and Indian classical music, to tell a tale from the Ramayana.

Members of FIPA performed a beautiful contemporary edited version of The Fatal Hunt at Cecil Sharp House in November 2009. At the opening and close of the performance, the Cecil Sharp House Choir sang two songs: the Scottish song Ye Banks and Braes and Phoole, Phoole, a song in Bengali written by Tagore for The Fatal Hunt, using the same melody.

The evening was presented to an appreciative invited audience, including members of the South Asian community in Britain who had worked with the FIPA to learn and record Tagore’s original songs in Bengali.

A DVD of the production, recordings of the music and other project documentation were given to the archive of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

 

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