Ask any Rajasthani why the desert state is considered to be the most colourful in terms of attire and food, the answer will be the same. They try to create what nature refused to bestow on them: Colour. It is this lack of colour in the mundane desert land that led Rajasthanis to wear as many vibrant hues as possible. The greenery which could not be found on the fields was created on the pallus of women, kesariya pagdis have been compensating absence of flowers for ages now, the colourful thali too adds to this man-made rainbow. This colour has seeped into the culture of Rajasthan, so much so that the poetry, music and dances also complement to fill this void.
The festival of music
Rajasthan International Folk Festival has been celebrating this colourful celebration in Jodhpur for seven years now. This genre-independent fest witnesses events from dawn to dusk, from devotional concerts to club nights and exciting collaborations between Rajasthani and Nordic, British, West Asian and Australian artistes. Serene folk and classical mornings, interactive daytime immersive sessions, unusual dances and beautiful evenings in the famous desert lounge all under the full moon sky.
“The desire to create a distinct platform for Rajasthani folk musicians, the belief that they are truly exemplary and deserving and the fact that their unique talents are of international merit were the main motivating factors to create the festival,” says director Divya Bhatia. The five-day fest kick-off from tomorrow. While Daud Khan Sadozai, the robab master, will collaborate classical sarangi maestro Dilshad Khan and oud master Joseph Tawadros, Barkat and Jalal Khan Manganiyar will sing bhajans to the folk deity Bananath.
The foreign connect
The Gypsy Allstars led by Cedric Leonardi, Mario Reyes and Antonio Carmona will perform with Rajasthani artistes on new pieces, as well as new arrangements of famous songs like Volare, Bomboleo and Un Amour. Also, there will be Manganiyar artists’ concerts on on second Sharad Poornima midnight on October 18.
There will be a collaboration between Jeff Lang folk and jazz singer guitarist and songwriter and Asin Langa on Sindhi sarangi, accompanied by Bobby Singh on tabla and Bhungar Manganiyar on kartal too. “Audiences will experience Rajasthan’s rustic, royal and magical texture and its contemporary and experimental flavour with its many genres and exemplary artists,” adds Bhatia.