After seven years, a Kolkata organization, “Banglanatak dot com”, won a prestigious grant from the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) 2014 for their project “Documentation of Bengal Folk Music Genres Bhawaiya, Bhatiali, and Bangla Qawwali.” This was announced at a press conference presided and moderated by Director Joanne Joria at the American Center Kolkata today. Musicians of three genres performed at the press conference and interacted with the media.
The project will document and preserve these traditional folk music traditions – Bhawaiya songs of North Bengal, Bhatiali songs of Sunderbans in South Bengal and Bangla Qawwali of Kolkata, Nadia, and Murshidabad – which are fast losing ground to other modern forms of entertainment to the point of near extinction.
An initiative by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) supports the preservation of cultural sites, cultural objects, and forms of traditional cultural expression in more than 100 countries around the world. AFCP-supported projects include the restoration of ancient and historic buildings, assessment and conservation of rare manuscripts and museum collections, preservation and protection of important archaeological sites, and the documentation of vanishing traditional craft techniques and indigenous languages.
By taking a leading role in efforts to preserve cultural heritage, the U.S. shows its respect for other cultures.
The last time a Kolkata organization won this grant was in 2007 when the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) won the grant for restoration of the Lalgola project in Murshidabad.