RAIPUR: Among the Padma honorees this year, 53-year-old Anup Ranjan Pandey is the toast of Chhattisgarh. His persistent effort towards preserving and promoting tribal musical instruments, which were believed to be on the verge of extinction in Bastar, the state’s tribal belt, won him the country’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri.
He formed the ‘Bastar Band’, a motley crew of musicians drawn from local tribal communities. The band, over time, broke new ground in the state’s music space and their compositions and musical performances are now a popular feature of the cultural expressions in all seven districts of Bastar. Formed in 2007, the ‘Bastar Band’ gives its listeners a taste of the state’s tribal musical ethos.
“Cultural expressions lend creativity to the society. All destructive and pessimistic thoughts are diluted through the influence of music, art and culture. There’s always been a cultural movement among the tribal communities in Bastar but it wasn’t nurtured as it should have,” Pandey said.