In 1967 Purnachandra Das, to give him his full name, was awarded the title of Baul Samrat (Emperor of the Bauls) by the then President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad. He achieved a different sort of fame -- but one which would put his name on many Westerners' lips -- when Bob Dylan placed him on the cover on his John Wesley Harding in 1968. In terms of visibility in the West he was second only to Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan. The son of Nabani Das Baul, he is the seventh generation to have followed the path but the first to have taken Baul music into the wider, commercial world. He has also worked as a playback singer in Bengali films.
Born during the Holi festival in 1933, Das took his name from the full moon that glided over the festival. Purna literally means 'full,' chandra 'moon.' His wife Manju Das and their three sons, Subhendu Das, Dibyendu Das and Krishendu Das perform collectively as the Bauls of Bengal -- the Purna Das Baul Group. The Chhanda Dhara label also has a vinyl and cassette-only release in their catalogue called Spiritual Songs of India (Chhanda Dhara SP 9283) featuring the husband-and-wife team.