Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan's Only India Visit, Was For This Wedding In Kolkata

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Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan's Only India Visit, Was For This Wedding In Kolkata

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Bob Dylan was hosted by Kolkata when he had visited to attend the wedding of folk singer Purna Das Baul.

Kolkata:  Kolkata has a special love for Bob Dylan's music, and his Nobel win has his fans ecstatic.

But many of them don't know of the musician's relation with the city.

In 1990, Mr Dylan was hosted by Kolkata when he had visited to attend the wedding of son of folk singer and musician Purna Das Baul.

Mr Dylan, whose visit was not made public, had lived a three-storey building in the narrow lanes of Dhakuria in South Kolkata. This is the only time America's Baul, as Bob Dylan once called himself, had come to India.

Folk singer Dibyendu Das was overwhelmed to have Bob Dylan come to his wedding. His father had collaborated with Bob Dylan for the famous Woodstock Festival in the US and had stayed in Bearsville in Woodstock with Mr Dylan.

"You can't describe Bob Dylan in one sentence. He is a great man. He is true artist.  I don't want to talk about his visit to Kolkata as he came here as a friend. We had kept it a secret but after word got out we had to stop the programme," Mr Das told NDTV.

Mr Das is perhaps one of the greatest ambassadors of India with his tunes reaching many countries. He has collaborated with greats like Tina Turner, Mike Jagger, Bob Marley and Bob Dylan.

But the relationship Mr Das shares with Dylan goes beyond music. Bob Dylan's ex-manager, Albert Grosman had invited the folk singer from Bengal to the US to perform at a music festival in San Francisco. During this visit, Mr Das also visited Bearsville in Woodstock, where he had stayed with Mr Dylan. The two then became friends.

Mr Das remembers how after knowing that he and his family only eat rice, Dylan had sent a sack of rice to the place where they were staying and insisted they must finish before leaving. He often ate the 'khichdi' cooked by Manju Das Baul, also a singer and Mr Das's wife.

"When he came, he was here for two hours in my house. And then phone calls started coming from other cities and newspapers. So we decided not to go ahead further and he left immediately," Mr Das told NDTV.

Mr Dylan, says Mr Das, recognized the true power of folk music. Like Baul, a form of folk music from Bengal, Dylan also made his mark in music with a traditional folk form.

"Folk music has no language. Because it comes from the sound of babies. No matter where a baby is born, the first cry, that's folk music," says Dibyendu Das.

Purna Das Baul says Dylan deserved the Nobel and should have got it earlier. He says music and artists like Dylan can bring the world together in times of war.

At a time when there are calls to cut off cultural ties with Pakistan, Mr Das has just returned from Samaa International Festival for Spiritual Music and Chanting where he performed with Pakistani Qawali singers Badar and Bahadur Ali Khan.

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