The Rajasthan International Folk Festival famously known as the Jodhpur RIFF Festival is a five-day cultural festival representing the state and its art forms.
The light of celebration is all over India and RIFF adds an extra charm to it. Rajasthan International Folk Festival is a musical festival that falls around Sharad Purnima, the brightest full moon of the year in north India. This is the sixteenth edition of the festival which is centred around Mehrangarh Fort and will be commencing from the 26th of October till the 30th of October. The festival is organized by the Jaipur Virasat Foundation & Mehrangarh Museum Trust. It will be a 5-day long festival with various activities and attractions to witness this year.
The festival was started with a motto to promote the Rajasthani culture and traditional artists. Since then it has been the house for various art forms and folk music and dances of the state. This year it continues to spread its magnificence through various art, dance, music, food and folk extravaganza.
The Folk Display
The first day will showcase some of the folk music and dances of Rajasthan. The show titled 'Bal Mela - School Children's Folk Morning' will display different forms of traditional art forms like Kathputli - string puppetry, Ghoomer - the twirling dance of the Bhil tribe, Kachchi Ghodi - a dance form performed on colourful dummy horses, Langa musician who will be performing the Sindhi sarangi, Bhapang – a single-stringed ‘talking drum,' Teraah Taali' - a dance performed with 13 manjiras (small metal cymbals) tied to different parts of the body and Rajasthani circus where acrobats, magicians, musicians, dancers and a variety of Bhawai artists will be performing daring feats.
The opening night will have some soulful performances by artists particularly those performing folk art forms. The concert opens with the unique vocal style of our Kalbeliya singers Sugna Devi, Mohini Devi and Asha Sapera, followed by a double flute rendition by Kuula Hetke. Then upbeat tunes by Ars Nova Napoli and Miroca Paris will lead to dramatic percussion ensembles with emerging khartal and dholak masters from the Langa and Manganiyar communities. Performance from many other artists will later be concluded with Agni Bhawai, a traditional fire-eating and dance performance from the villages of northern Rajasthan, and the very special Dhol Tasha from Maharashtra.
A Stage for Indie Art
Day two will commence with a soulful morning performance by the Meghwals of Marwar and the Manganiyars. Following that, the stage will be set for young and upcoming artists from the state. Raina Peterson’s 'Narasimha – ManLion' will be presented in the form of classical Indian dance, and Marco Cher-Gibard will perform with live sampling, electronics, home-based software, and an unconventional guitar. Next, the Mumbai-based Kathak dancer Tarini Tripathi will take the stage, along with the young masters of the Langa tradition, SAZ. They will present their first, as-yet-untitled collaboration, bringing two traditions together in a unique jugalbandi, skillfully rendered by Sadiq Khan on the dholak, Asin Khan's powerful vocals, and his Sindhi Sarangi, as well as Zakir Khan’s amazing khartal.
The night will have other performances from the Neapolitan musical trio of Irene Scarpato, Marcello Smigliante Gentile and Gian Marco Libeccio, Jasser Haj Youssef, Barnali Chattopadhyay, and an all-acoustic experience with various singers and musicians to end the day.
Music and the Maestro
Idu Khan Langa, the young maestro of the Alghoza, the Surnaiya Langa’s archetypal wind instrument, will begin the second dawn concert. Karte Pihlap and Katariina Tirmaste will present their words in the form of storytelling. The key music traditions of Mewat - Bhapang, Mashak, Jogiya Sarangi, and Khari dance in collaboration with young bhapang maestro Yusuf Khan. Yusuf will also be engaging the audience in a session on promoting and preserving the rich heritage of Mewati folk music. Avadhoot Phadke will welcome the Sharad Poornima moon with a mellifluous flute recital. After that, a performance featuring some of the best young folk dholak players from Rajasthan will be led by Feroze Khan Manganiyar, Rajasthan’s foremost dholak player. The day will culminate with many other performances by various artists of Club Mehran.
Sessions and More
On day four, there will be a showcase of music performances from the south. The dance boot camp, featuring Ghoomar, and the Indie Roots camp will be conducted by Harpreet, who will also share her haunting rendition of 'Khooni Vaisakhi,' a poem from the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, followed by a discussion with the publisher, Navdeep Suri. Other performances will include the Khartal players and the Manganiyars, as well as 'Parampara' led by the legendary percussionist Vidwan T. H Vinayakram, fondly known as Vikku ji. Additionally, 'The Cool Desert Project,' Miroca Paris, and Alif's band will take the stage. The evening will conclude on a high note with RIFF Rustle, an impromptu collaborative performance that marks the end of the festival's nighttime revelries.
In his distinctive style, Harpreet will usher in the final dawn of Jodhpur RIFF 2023 with his interpretations and compositions of humanist poets such as Kabir and Bulleh Shah. Following that, the iconic Sharma Bandhu vocal quartet will grace the stage with their semi-classical music, combined with skillful storytelling. The four brothers, Pt. Gopal Sharma, Shukdev Sharma, Kaushlendra Sharma, and Raghvendra Sharma, renowned for their bhajans and renditions of Nirguni poetry, will bring Jodhpur RIFF 2023 to a close.
Where: Jodhpur RIFF, c/o Mehrangarh Museum Trust, Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
When: 26th to 30th October.
Entry: Day 1 events are free for all. Passes for the rest of the days.