World Mouth Harp Festival kickstarts in Goa

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 - 9:45pm IST | Place: Goa | Agency: DNA
150-year old ancient kutchi instrument 'sarando' nearing extinction to be played

The distinct twang of a mouth harp will echo on the beaches of Goa in a two day musical fiesta, World Mouth Harp Festival starting January 30 onwards.

In this unique crowd-funded event, over fifty artists of fifteen bands from around the world will gather at Arambol beach in North Goa on January 30 and 31 to celebrate the annual theme of the music fest, ‘India and Beyond.’ "Four folk musicians of Kutch, Gujarat, will travel to Goa from their remote villages to present a concert of traditional Kutchi folk music with the instruments Morchang or Jodia Pava (double flute), Ghado-Gamelo, which is an aluminum percussion pan, and the Surando is a six-stringed, intricately carved instrument that resembles a peacock," said Neptune Chapotin, organiser of the festival.

The Surando is nearing extinction; only one instrument remains in India, a 150 year-old specimen, and there is only one musician capable of playing it. Shepherd and nomad musicians from remote villages close to a thousand kilometers away will travel to Goa and perform. Further, seven-member band Carnatic Morsing Ensemble from Karnataka will present  the traditional mouth harp Morsing-Tarang. To add a global flavor to the enchanting musical confluence, Ukranian-based band Cloud Jam will play. Another highlight of the fest will be Torporkestra, a Gypsy-Punk Balkan band combining artists from Romania, Ukraine, Germany and Turkey.

A mouth harp is a versatile instrument that fits a human palm. The base of the mouth harp is held between the teeth such that the instrument is perpendicular to the lips of the player and is played with rhythm created by plucking fingers and variation of breath to produce melodious musical notes. Interestingly, Karnataka, Assam, Kutch region of Gujarat and Rajasthan are replete with artists which have maintained a strong cultural history of playing the lesser known mouth harp in India. Identified by different names in each of these states, it is called ‘Morsing,’ in Karnataka, ‘Gogona,’ in Assam and ‘Morchang,’ in the sandy desert regions of Kutch in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

“Karnataka is one of the states of the south where the Morsing is played in Carnatic classical music. In Assam, the bamboo Gogona is an integral element of the music and dances of courtship during the April cultural festival of Bihu. In Gujarat, the Morchang is an instrument played by nomadic shepherds whereas in Rajasthan, the Morchang is played by folk musicians of the desert,” Chapotin told dna.

Legend has it that the origins of mouth harp date back to fourth century BC. They are amongst the oldest musical instruments in the world. A mouth harp finds use in widely varied schools of music ranging from Carnatic and Filipino in the eastern part of the world to Turkish and Sicilian confluences in the Western Europe as well as Western Classical and World Music. Admission to the festival including workshops and concerts was free, non-profit, and open to all. Book your date with the melodious mouth harpists in Goa!

30-31 January 2014, 12 pm to 10 pm

Blue Pyramids Skaska Beach Shack and concert area, Near Magic Park, Arambol beach, Goa, India, 403524

* Featured Performances
* Open Mic Stage
* Mouth Harp Workshops
* Circus Arts Workshops
* Campfire Jams
* Artisan Marketplace

For further information and videos check The World Mouth Harp Festival of India


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