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Riff It out

The seventh edition of Jodhpur RIFF is all set to roll out some of the finest international and folk artistes this year

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: September 2, 2013 1:46 am

There is one thing that blooms in Rajasthan at the end of summer — festivals. And it all begins with Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) which,this time,kicks off on October 17. The festival in the past few years has acquired quite some significance on the nation’s cultural calendar. The burly walls of the sprawling Mehrangarh Fort,perched 400 metres above the skyline of Jodhpur,will come alive with dholaks,guitar riffs,song and dance. The five-day festival will witness a bouquet of interesting performances,which have been lined up besides the regular folk fiesta that is part of the festival every year.

Gypsies from the West

The late ’80s were marked by a band that hit the world music scene with its Spanish guitars and progressive pop flamenco. They came from two gypsy families,called themselves The Gypsy Kings,and rose up the charts with Bomboleo,one of their most famous tracks. Now three gypsies from the families — Cedric Leonardi,Mario Reyes (son of Gypsy Kings founder Nicholas Reyes) and Antonio Carmona — will be a part of the headlining act at Jodhpur RIFF. The trio will merge Indian and gypsy rhythms with a host of Rajasthani musicians. “Gypsy and Rajasthani music have always had common roots. It will be an interesting collaboration to look at,” says Divya Bhatia,Festival Director,Jodhpur RIFF. At the festival,the musicians will also launch a project named “Bamboleo meets Bollywood”.

Notes from the War Zone

Ustad Daud Khan,whose name is synonymous with the rabab,will regale the audiences in the Zenana courtyard. Khan comes from Afghanistan,where the instrument also finds its origins. It will be interesting to see the development of music from a land which,having been a witness to the Taliban regime,has always considered music as un-Islamic. Besides learning the rabab under legendary Muhammad Umar,Khan has also learnt the ropes of playing the sarod,the modified version of rabab,with Ustad Amjad Ali Khan.

Folk Tales

The warm and joyful notes of accordion will swirl inside the Mehrangarh Fort as Linda Gytri from Norway will draw the audience into a world of folklore. Her concerts,known to not use percussion of any kind,take the audience on the journey. She changes her musical landscape rapidly,showcasing a variety of emotions. Gytri will also match the harmonics of the didgeridoo with the rustic rhythms of khartaal and dholak of the Rajasthani folk musicians.

Latin Rock Star

If Latin rock has ever had a godfather,it has got to be world music sensation Manu Chao. Referred to as “the pied piper of the poor”,Chao travelled and performed all across Columbia with a bunch of friends at a time when the country was going through a lot of turmoil. But the French-Spanish rocker did not stay so young and his performances became the stuff of lore. After many years,the “Clandestine” man is making his first pit stop in India at the RIFF,and is likely to have the audience on its feet for most part of his performance.

Songs for the Soul

The vigorous hand claps,the throaty alaaps and the trademark Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan-style of delivering qawwalis,will mark the recital of Rizwan and Muazzam,Khan’s nephews. Apart from some of their originals,the duo will have the difficult task of performing some of Khan’s well-known tracks. The session will certainly find a smattering of cover versions of Khan’s famous qawwalis.

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