The Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) 2016, which begins here on Thursday, promises enthralling live action for music lovers to cherish, the organiser said.
“Jodhpur RIFF will present one of our most evolved productions ‘Maru Tarang’ – a Rajasthani-Australian collaboration that has played to packed houses in Australia, the UK and Spain,” festival director Divya Bhatia told IANS.
“We’ll be presenting some fantastic Rajasthani musicians, arguably the best in their traditions – Lakha Khan Manganiyar, Chiranji Lalji, Anwar Khan Manganiyar, the brothers Ghewar, Darra and Firoze Khan Manganiyar, Kadar and Asin Langa, Babunath Jogi to name a few.
“We have some incredible young talent in Smita Bellur, Parveen Sabrina, Khan and Jasleen Kaur Monga. And many many more incredible artistes,” Bhatia added.
Scheduled to take place at captivating Mehrangarh Fort, the five-day event will be, like always, culturally rooted.
There will be rich and vibrant Kachi Ghodi and Chhatar Kotla performed on dummy horses, while men in elaborate colourful costumes will dance rhythmically to drum beats.
A Kawa Circus, India’s first Rajasthani circus act featuring traditional artistes of Rajasthan, and the young masters from the Langa and Manganiyar communities, will also enthrall the festival-goers.
The opening day will see a one and half hour vibrant extravaganza of Rajasthani traditional music and dance. This includes a Algoza party with male dancers, music and dances of the Kalbeliya, popular songs from Rajasthan by the Manganiyar, the Dhol Drummers of Rajasthan with a fire dancer and a special set by an international artist concluding the evening.
Storytelling has always been a part of India’s rural cultures. And in Rajasthan, it has been inseparable from village life. Keeping this in mind, this year at Jodhpur RIFF, there will be a new exploration of the storytelling forms of the region with the help of Vijay Verma and Nahar Singh Jasol, former director of the Mehrangarh Museum.
Also, the event’s interactive session series gives visitors to RIFF an opportunity to meet artistes in various root traditions, engage with them and chat about various folk instruments, forms and communities of Rajasthan through their performances, demonstrations and facilitated interactions.
RIFF will even present ‘Desert Lounge’ in the Rao Jodha Desert Park, just outside the Mehrangarh Fort. It will be an unusual, acoustic, moon-lit rustic experience under the stars with artists including the young Rajasthani group Dhun Dhora; emerging vocalists from Barmer Bhuta, Nehru and Dayam and the more senior Sawan Khan and Hakam Khan – strong vocalists from western Rajasthan, performing.
Bhatia says that the event not only enthrals music lovers, but also provides training sessions for the Rajasthani musicians for their artistic development.
“We make them travel in India and overseas and arrange many live performances for them. We have been developing key collaborative projects, all which have showcased their incredible musicianship and brought them recognition, respect and income,” he said.
(The writer is in Jodhpur at the invitation of the RIFF organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at email@example.com)