< Back
Nunulal Marndi, Banam
Address: Bhurkundabari village,
Neturia Block

Nunulal Marndi is a dreamer, a maverick and a superbly talented musician. A resident of Bhurkundabari village in Purulia, this self taught musician`s fascination with music began as a child when he first began to absorb the sounds of the music of the traditional fiddles (banam) and the flutes (tirio, murli) during village weddings and the various festivals of the Santals. There was a profusion of such instruments in the days of his youth, though this is not the case anymore.  

Nunulal`s devotion to music began as a teenager when he started herding cattle. He started by first practising a genre of song, like Lagre,  Dong, Baha, Sohrai and so on, and later picked up these songs (sereng) on the Banam, a fiddle like instrument, borrowed from his uncles.  Alone, with just the cows for company, or on the banks of the river Damodar close by, he would persevere until he perfected both song and instrument. He was about 16 then.

The free spirited Nunulal who is about 48 years old today continues to plays for himself, strictly for his own pleasure. He has not ever taken part in competitions. In fact most people in his village were not even aware of his talent, till recently, when he was invited to teach at a Huka Banam workshop in the village jointly organized by Daricha Foundation and Anthropological Survey of India.  

His children have no interest in the banam and are even embarrassed by their father`s passion for this instrument. Educated till class V, he is a daily wage  farm labourer, a carpenter, a musician and a composer of songs. His sons too work and between themselves, the family manages to eke out a living for themselves. 

When requested to sing for us, Nunulal pulls out his song book, where he has been documenting Santal songs learnt in his childhood or heard along the way, as well as songs that he himself has composed.  He tells us that it is his fervent desire to be able to pass on some of his musical knowledge to whoever wishes to learn. 

Nunulal Marndi : Musician Extraordinaire