I have been chatting to Amitava Bhattacharya founder of banglanatek.com about ‘Art for life’ - an Indian initiative to develop local cultural activities including folk music, dance and art from over 150 villages into small scale rural enterprises. Over the last seven years more than 3000 village artists have been involved in projects which seek to promote within India and overseas the value of traditional Indian village art forms, ensuring the survival of the art forms by generating an income for the artists. They organize a festival in Calcutta in February and banglanatek.com also arrange small trips to visit some of the villages. The project is a great success and is now supported by UNESCO. The bonus disc entitled ‘Sufi Fakirs of Bengal’ included with the recent Rough Guide to Sufi features a selection of the village Sufi musicians recorded by banglanatek.com and is the first time these musicians have been heard outside India.

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