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Folksy tunes

From Spanish gypsy to devotional music at dusk, the desert fest has it, reports Malvika Nanda.

delhi Updated: Oct 15, 2010 21:50 IST
Malvika Nanda
Malvika Nanda
Hindustan Times

It’s unfair to call the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) in Jodhpur just a music festival. Yes, RIFF is essentially about music, but there’s more.

From bhajan gigs at Jaswant Thada, you’re left with one awe-inspiring moment after another. All this takes place in various corners of the majestic 14 century Mehrangarh fort in Jodhpur. No wonder it’s a favourite of the Rolling Stones legend, Mick Jagger.

The five-day-long fest begins on Thursday, October 21. Like every year, the fest boasts of several names from the global music scene.

The big names this times are: English musician of Indian origin Susheela Raman (Yeh Mera Deewanapan Hai, The Namesake), Sona Mohapatra (of INXS Afterglow fame), English percussionist Pete Lockett who has worked in the Bond movies to cult musicians such as Bjork, Peter Gabriel, Robert Plant, AR Rahman and others.

RIFF is known for bringing out hidden folk music jewels from Rajasthan and other parts of the world. The organisers scout for ‘beyond-the-obvious’ folk talent and give it a platform. Simply put, the fest gives music aficionados the best of both worlds: folk plus collaborative ventures.

“But the star attraction is still music,” says festival director, Divya Bhatia. Musicians travel days in advance to meet and jam with other performers. “Some collaborations are in depth while some are fleeting… but one thing is in common with all of them — a sense of joy in making the music,” says Bhatia. Women performances range from shekhawati folk to British crossover and from maand to indi-pop.

From day two, the fest will have 6-7 acts throughout the day and an informal gig at Club Mehran close to midnight. Acclaimed Pakistani group, the Meekal Hassan Band, will also perform.

There are dedicated devotional music concerts at dawn and dusk featuring Meghwals of Marwar, Sasthidas Baul, Rudra Veena specialist Dr Ustad Bahauddin Khan Dagar among others. Maand, music of the Manganiyaars, Polish and Spanish gypsy folk, kalbelias will also perform.

While you’re there, climb up to the top of the fort for a dazzling view of the city, as also for the fireworks display late in the evening. And if alcohol is up your alley, sample the saunf and elaichi flavoured liqueurs as well.

From October 21 till October 25
A full festival Donor Pass will cost Rs 3950. You can buy individual passes for each gig (charges vary depending on
the venue)
For more details log on to

First Published: Oct 15, 2010 21:48 IST