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Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival begins in magical atmosphere

Jodhpur, April 4 (IANS) It was a magical moment when the Mehrangarh Fort, built over five centuries ago, came alive with renditions of mesmerising gypsy and folk music from across the world, including Spain, Italy, Turkey and India, giving a thrilling sta

2015-04-04T12:34:00Z
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Jodhpur, April 4 (IANS) It was a magical moment when the Mehrangarh Fort, built over five centuries ago, came alive with renditions of mesmerising gypsy and folk music from across the world, including Spain, Italy, Turkey and India, giving a thrilling start to the second edition of the Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival 2015 here.

Flagged off in the presence of the former Maharaja of Jodhpur Gaj Singh II on Friday, the three-day festival is jointly organised by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and CRN Productions with the aim of bringing together distinctive gypsy sounds from across the world.

Giving a pleasant start to the first day was the performance of Sounds of the Sands, a team of world renowned Rajasthani musicians from the Manganiyar community, led by Ghamshey Khan Manganiyar. They celebrated the rich heritage of traditional Rajasthani music at the Moti Mahal in Mehrangarh Fort.

Performing long forgotten Rajasthani folk music, the team mesmerised the audience with their earthly compositions.

That music connects all, language notwithstanding, was a reality here for everyone to see and feel. A family who came all the way from the Netherlands to see the festival was in awe after watching the Rajasthani performance and called them the "true creative gems of India".

The team later performed a fusion with flamenco legends including pianist Chano Dominguez, flamenco dancer Daniels Navarro, bassist Javier Colina and flamenco player El Bola on the main stage. For some in the audience, primarily foreigners and the former royals of Jodhpur, it was a "delight" to see the amalgamation of east and west.

Ghamshey was equally excited.

"To play the Kamaicha (bowed string instrument) with flamenco music has been one of the most memorable occasions of my life," he said with a smile.

Another highpoint of the first day was when flamenco artists including dancer Karen Lugo, vocalist Naike Ponce, violinist Victor Guadiana and drummer Israel Varela, took to the main stage under the moonlit sky. This was in fusion with Rajasthan Roots, a folk music group from Jaipur.

"I am satisfied with the result of collaboration with Rajasthan Roots and I believe that the modern twist added by the Rajasthan Roots to traditional music has been an effortless connect," said Lugo when asked about the fusion of a folk group with flamenco artists.

The audience was left spellbound by the fascinating musical notes of Rajasthan Roots, who worked around contemporary interpretations of Rajasthani folk music. Creating an unmatched jugalbandi of bass, vocal, harmonies and effects, the band created a pulsating groove that bore within it the electrifying percussions of Rajasthan.

These performances set the mood for more to come, but raindrops played spoilsport at the open venue, leaving spectators in a confused state of whether to stay back or leave.

But the performers didn't stop.

Some of the local performers took over a corner of the shaded area and started singing with their instruments in hand. Songs like "Jhulle jhulle lal", "Damadum mast kalandar" and "Palo latke" had both Indians and foreigners asking for more.

The day ended with the cancellation of the last performance of Flamenco House Sessions, by DJ set Hamza and Latif Khan.

(The writer's trip is at the invitation of the festival's organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at [email protected])


Latif Khan


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