Ernest Hemingway called Paris a moveable feast in his novel by the same name. If you have seen the moon shining over Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, you are bound to carry its light in your memory wherever you go; your very own moveable feast.
Timed to coincide with Sharad Purnima — the brightest full moon of the year in north India — Jodhpur RIFF (Rajasthan Folk International Festival) features a series of spectacular concerts and events based in and around Mehrangarh Fort. In its sixth year, Jodhpur RIFF is more about rhythm than rhyme, Divya Bhatia, festival director tells us.
As we scan through the list of performers, which includes a variety of Rajasthani percussion, instruments such as the didgeridoo from Australia, Uilleann pipes from Ireland and Scotland, the Jorpo rhythms from Colombia and the drumming performance by Naadro from Sri Lanka we are convinced the festival this year is bound to be high on root rhythm traditions.
“The festival aims to spotlight and celebrate the incredible variety and quality of the traditional artists of Rajasthan, to positively impact the livelihood of these musicians by creating new audiences; introduce live folk also called roots music form across the world; mainstream traditional and roots-textured music,” Bhatia adds.
This year, the festival has more gigs to offer, which also include midnight performances. “Our interactive sessions will be more deep. We are expecting more audience than last year,” says Bhatia.
Dance and song
The fort festivities from October 26 to 29 include a variety of traditional dance forms reflecting the distinctive regional cultures of Rajasthan such as Chakri Nritya, a celebratory dance particular to the Kanjar community; Dhol — Thaali ‘Gogaji’ Nritya, a dance form where the four-beat rhythm is beaten out of the 'dhol and chang, a percussion drum commonly performed at the time of Holi.
While all the performances at the festival are worth experiencing, the first dawn recital with Bhanwari Devi and Patashi Devi in the bhopa-bhopi tradition, the late night Desert Lounge, Ganesh and Kumaresh and Burhan Ocal, the Istanbul Oriental Orchestra, qawaali by Ghulam Hussain are a must watch, Bhatia stresses.