Rumours that Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger will turn up for Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) in Jodhpur has had a time-weathered appeal. The 70-year-old bad boy of rock n roll is the patron of the festival,so whispers about his presence have echoed in the majestic Mehrangarh Fort along with the beats of the khartaal and strains of the sarangi for almost six years (Jagger only turned up for the first edition in 2007). So,when the notoriously private singer actually walked into the Zenana Courtyard of the fortress in the middle of an upbeat performance by Maya Kamati an Indian-origin singer from Reunion Islands those present just looked on in hushed awe. The speechlessness of it all seemed to have stunned Jagger too,who quietly sat down in the corner of the front row. It was only at the end of Kamatis performance that it sank in,and the Zenana Courtyard erupted with shrieks and sounds of all textures other than that of a massively loud applause.
Music-wise,Day 2 of Jodhpur RIFF was one of the better days one has seen at this festival over the years. The festival had the vibe,always. But this time the first day provided us with some excellent music to support the hype. While Allau Langa regaled the audience with a touch of brilliance on the rare instrument of algoza,Kamati blended African rhythms with modern harmonies,garnishing it all with a touch of blues.
Then there was Spanish-French music legend Manu Chao,who on his first India performance,unleashed a cascade of crazy numbers with genres such as reggae,ska,punk,French chanson and Algerian Rai. Pulsating basslines and familiar acoustic riffs made an appearance amid a slew of climactic moments. The decision was out the bar had been raised. The artistes playing on the next three days are already feeling the pressure.