Co-produce our next film Janeu | Bhojpuri Initiation Rites & Folk Songs

Beloved friends,

We would like to thank you for your association and continued support for our young organisation – Espírito Kashi. In the last years we have worked much harder and found new platforms to take our films. We have also started working towards building an online archive of folk songs. As you understand, safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage, or the oral traditions, is a huge task. It requires a fair amount of time to be spent in the field with the community and also an equal amount of work to read texts and to edit the visual content accordingly. Safeguarding in not only about archiving, we would like to find ways to sensibly present it with it’s philosophical/cultural context. We take pride in being India’s only organisation actively working towards redefining ways to safeguard the oral traditions.

Our films are now being used at the Department of Ethnomusicology, Münster University as part of their curriculum and they are also reaching ethnographic film festivals around the world. Recently, we got the news that our short film “Crossing a River, Losing a Self” has been selected to be screened at EASA (European Association of Social Anthropologists) 2016 conference to be held in Milan, Italy. It is one of the biggest conference for Anthropologists. Slowly, with dedication, we are creating experimental films and also reaching spaces, which we did not imagine when creating that film.

Part of our project is to create films and another is to understand the audience reception for those films. To focus on audience reception, this time we would like to take back the film to the community with whom we made the film. When we make the film, all the young and the old in the village gather together, curious to know what is happening. And when they see, that we are here with an interest in folk songs – it highlights it’s importance to them as well. Therefore we want to screen their own film to them and in this way, make a small attempt towards not only documenting the folk cultural practices but also finding ways to make it sustainable.

Our next film in production is “Janeu | Bhojpuri Initiation Rites & Folk Songs”. 

About the film

While rituals in India are majorly seen as men’s job, not many know that women hold an equally important role in the purification rituals – of expressing the emotions that develop during the ritual through songs. The film documents the folk songs sung during the initiation ritual (Janeu or Upanayana) in the Bhadwar village of Bihar. The rite of passage leads the person being initiated to take the first step towards the path of devotion: the essence of the wisdom of the Vedas.

The film is a part of a project for safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India using the practice of visual anthropology.

Trailer of the film – https://vimeo.com/128719246

We are seeking funds to produce this film and to take the film back to the community. For this reason, we would like to invite you to become co-producers of the film (with due credits) by contributing a little amount. Here is the link to the online campaign: https://milaap.org/campaigns/janeu-film

We request you to contribute a little or share our campaign in your friend circle – as you know all our films are available online for free since we believe that folklore belongs to no one and everyone. We are able to document these fading traditions with a mutual understanding with the community and our idea of producing a kind of shared knowledge, therefore charging people to watch our films is out of the question. What we receive, we give back.

Once again, thank you so much for your blessings. And thank you for reading this post. Please don’t hesitate to ask any question and to give a suggestion.

Best wishes,

Espírito Kashi Team

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