“since the age of four, when I first started my music training, I do five hours of riyaaz every day,” says Chugge Khan, the famed Manganiyar and Langa musician from Jaisalmer and director of Rajasthan Josh.
Rhythmic, hypnotic and ethereal desert sounds peppered with traditional and contemporary fusions, Manganiyars are artistes and musicians who performed for the Mughal rulers and Rajput princes in the days of yore.
Today, they will perform for Mumbai at Blue Frog. And dressed in black and white and the traditional Jaisalmer pagdi on the head, 31-year-old Khan will perform to original songs that he has penned in Hindi and Urdu.
“They are songs for Allah, lullabies for kids and others that welcome guests,” says Khan, who will be joined by six other family members. They will play musical instruments such as dhol and harmonium, and accompany him in the singing. What’s one thing we should watch out for, we ask Khan.
“Eye contact,” he answers. “With our vibrant music and our continuous eye contact with the audience, we hope to keep them engrossed. While most of our songs start with a slow tempo and rise to a faster beat, some songs begin fast and lose pace towards the end,” explains Khan, adding that there is nothing else he enjoys doing in his free time. “Kuch naya banane ko dil karta hai (I feel like creating new pieces),” he confesses with a smile. Before we close, he is quick to add, “We are the only Manganiyars clan in India, while the rest are all in Pakistan.”