“Ale Ato” (Our Village) is a DVD production released on 27th June 2015 at a grand function of ‘Hul’ festival in Dhansara village near Santiniketan. | Duration (Part 1 of 2): 19:19 | URL: https://youtu.be/3UbSfSI2jN4

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About these songs – Dr. Boro Baski

All the songs used in video are in traditional tune and related to the subject. The musical instruments used in the video too are traditional except for one in the RSV school song. For audio, besides traditional we have inserted some fusion songs too and have used traditional and modern instruments.
The melody too has been the mixture of traditional and Indian classics.

Eight songs composed and performed by staff and students of the Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram (Non-formal Santal school, Ghosaldanga village, Dist.-Birbhum, West Bengal, India)

1 Nadi Hudin Khon (From Childhood)

[Starting from 1:06]

A daughter tells her mother:
Dear mother, you brought me up from childhood but you were not able to make use of my physical strength. You nourished me as a baby and taught me how to clean the courtyard, catch snails from the pond, collect the vegetables from the forest and firewood from the jungle. Now you married me off, but I know you will remember me and weep silently while taking food and sweeping the verandah. I am so sad that I am leaving you alone at home.

Literary translation

From a small child you grown me up
Where could you use my strength dear mother,
At the end of your life you will realize
You will be sweeping the courtyard by supporting your hip with your hand,
You will be eating rice keeping your hand on your cheek
Tears will be falling on the water bowl.
In the courtyard there is your broom
In the cowshed there is your basket to clean cow dung dear mother,
On the top and bottom of Garshade (raised platform to keep cleaned utensils) there are your utensils and bronze pot,
Now I leave you dear mother.

Barge Duyor (Backyard Door)

[Starting from 5:08]

An old man says:
Whenever I enter and leave my house through the back door I hear the hammering sound of the blacksmith from the other side of our village. Poor blacksmith, I am a widower, and your sound makes my heart heavy and fearful.
Every day at dawn I awake thinking of the pigeons, including the pregnant ones, who flew away from the earthen bowls by the sound of the rice husking machine near our house.

Literary translation

Coming out and in at the back door of the house,
I hear the sound of hammering,
At the end of our village the poor blacksmith prepares the ring of the cart.
Me too, poor blacksmith have no partner in life
Every beat of the hammer makes my heart tremble.
Backyard of the house and adjacent to the wall
I hear the sound of Dhinki ‘dhukur dhukur’ (Dinki-rice crusher machine made of wood)
The sound of Dhingki keeps me awake during the dawn of day.
Flight of pigeons under our thatch roof
About to hatch chicks today or tomorrow
Dhinki sound forced them to fly away.

Bagi kedalang (We no longer do the same)

[Starting from 8:38]

Two school-boys sing:
We have left our herding days but we cannot leave playing our flute. We have left hunting rats and birds in the jungle but we cannot leave drinking rice beer.
Two school-girls sing:
We have left the habit of collecting cow dung in the scorching heat, we no longer collect vegetables from the fields but we cannot forget our dances and music and attending our village fairs. We have forgotten the habit of putting a towel on our shoulder and embroider the end-pieces of our towels but we have not forgotten our childhood friendship.

Literary translation

We have left herding cows and buffalos,
but could not leave playing flute.
We have left hunting mice and birds and left the eating of roasted meat,
but could not leave drinking rice beer.

We have left stitching mattress with palm leafs sitting on khat under the banyan tree, collecting cow dung in the field in the scorching heat.
But could not leave our habit of roaming around in the bazar.
We have left the habit of putting towels on our shoulder and doing handy work at the end of the panchi (towel),
but could not leave our dance and music.

Hermet Dipil (On my Hip and my Head)

[Starting from 13:19]

A young girl tells her mother:
I am tired of carrying an earthen water pot on my hip and on my head, dear mother. Buy me some pots of silver and gold.
I am tired of carrying my little brother on my hip from one side of the village to the other every day.
I want a little sister like my friend Thermeng has.

Literary translation

Keeping earthen pot on my hip and on my head,
I am tired of carrying water every day dear mother.
Buy me pots of silver and gold.
From upper part of the village to the lower part
I am tired of carrying my little brother on my hip every day,
Get me a little sister like my friend Thermeng has.

 Rasi Nato (Big Village)

[Starting from 16:25, continues/ends in Part 2]

A group of women recall their bygone days:
In our big village we girls and boys were together in pairs. But the pairs of our friendships are no more. Some of us have shut ourselves up indoors. Some of us have chained ourselves and have multiplied like the roots of a banana plant.

Literary translation

Boys and girls in our big village
We used to be in pairs,
Pairs of our friendship is broken.
Some of us have closed ourselves indoor,
Some of us have chained ourselves,
Some of us have multiplied like root of banana plants.

Continue and view Part 2 here >>

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See also

Audio | Santali Traditional and Fusion Songs: Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust – West Bengal

Banam (Santal string instrument)
– eBook: Banam Making Workshop at Bishnubati | Daricha Foundation
– Video: Banam Raja | Interview with Nunulal Marndi | Reviving the Huka Banam

eBook | Background guide for education

eBook | Free catalogue: Banam: One of the ancient musical instruments of the Santals

eBook | Free catalogue: Museum of Santal Culture (Bishnubati) – West Bengal

eBook | “Santals Celebrate the Seasons”: Creativity fostered by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra – West Bengal

India’s tribal, folk and devotional music: Secular and ceremonial songs

eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence

Infusing the Santhali Element in Schooling by Rina Mukherji

Museum collections – India

Museum of Santal Culture Bishnubati

Music album and video by Santal village children and youths (DVD, CD): “Children see world around them differently” – West Bengal & Odisha

Music and dance | Adivasi music and the public stage by Jayasri Banerjee

Puppetry | Santali Chadar Badni / Chadar Bad(o)ni”| Daricha Foundation
– eBook: Cadence-and-counterpoint-documenting-santal-musical-traditions
– Video: Damon Murmu | Sahadev Kisku | Shibdhan Murmu

Santal | Santal creation myth | Santal Parganas | The Santals by Boro Baski

Santal cultural traditions documented on the Daricha Foundation website

Santal flute music: Audio resource by Adivaani.org – West Bengal & Jharkhand

Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary – Archive.org

Santali script – Ol Chiki

Santal mission | Santali songs recorded in 1931 at Kairabani (Jharkhand)

Santal music | Santal Musical Traditions: National Museum (exhibition catalogue)

Video | Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village)

Video & eLearning | “Cadence and Counterpoint: Documenting Santal Musical Traditions” – A virtual exhibition on Google Cultural Institute

To locate the Museum of Santal Culture in Bishnubati village (near Santiniketan) on the map seen below, open by clicking on the left button:

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Toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser

For details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)

Scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest

Explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>