Bhatiyali is the music of mystic rivers and the lives of boatmen rowing gently upon them. It is distinguished for its long drawn notes. Bhatiyali starts at a high pitch, and slowly settles, gently meandering into low notes The metaphor of river and search for direction is interminable.

Bhatiyali Artists

Saurav Mandal

He is one of the most prolific young folk singers of India today. Saurav specializes in folk songs originating in Bengal’s Sunderbans delta region and has imbibed the art of rustic rendition since his childhood — in the company of fishermen, travelling boatmen, myriad folk singers, and the wandering Bauls and Fakirs. Born in the remote village of Hingalganj in the Sunderbans, near the Bangladesh border, Saurav came to Kolkata to pursue higher education, only to realize that his call was to preserve and spread folk music at its authentic best. Since then, he is working on vocal archiving, research on rare folk music genres, and conserving moribund village hymns (pallygeeti) and transcendental verses. Saurav has performed across India, Europe and UK and also played at Coke Studio and Folk Nations. His solo album ‘Nouka Kholo’ is a very popular one.

Bishnupada Sarkar

A grandson of legendary Kabiyal (poet) and flute player Banshiram Sarkar, Bishnupada is an ‘incubator-promoter’ of the Bhatiyali music form. A celebrated singer located at Sunderbans, also renowned for his skills in playing musical instruments, he has several songs to his credit as a lyricist too. Bishnupada teaches young artists as well and is fondly called ‘Master’ by his pupils.


Music got imbibed in him during his childhood in Assam. His aunt Jyostna Choudhury was a Sitar exponent and his uncle Shibnath Choudhury was a Tabla player. Joyshankar came to Kolkata in the 1990s with a rich repertoire of folk songs from the Northeast. Soon after, he formed the urban folk music band ‘Surma Dohar’ with his friend Bablu Das. He is the lead vocalist of the group. He has also done playback for a feature film. He has played in festival in Italy and China. Surma Dohar's album ‘Surma Nadir Gangchilera' is a very popular one.

Bablu Das

Bablu Das, born in Assam, is an artist known for his skills in rendering a wide variety of folk songs. He came to Kolkata in his early youth and teamed up with his friend Joyshankar to form the music band ‘Surma Dohar’. He is also a music composer. He has played in festival in Italy and at Closing ceremony of Kolkata Int'l Film festival, 2016. Surma Dohar's album ‘Surma Nadir Gangchilera' is a very popular one.

Pranes Som

Pranes Som, a disciple of Guru Shri Amar Paul has performed in several television music programmes across channels like All India Radio, Doordarshan, Bangladesh Television, Tara Music, Akash 8 and Rupashi Bangla. He is an empanelled artiste of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), West Bengal State Music Academy, Government of West Bengal. Guru Sishya Parampara Scholarship from EZCC was awarded to him for two years. He wears many a hat working as an external examiner at Rabindra Bharati University and a Bengali folk song teacher (honorary) at Light House for the Blind. Pranes has performed in numerous festivals in India as well as abroad like Bangladesh and Chicago. His songs have been part of six folk CD releases.