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News |  29 Sep 2022 16:04 |  By RnMTeam

India's Favourite Roots Music Festival is Here! 7 Days to Go for Jodhpur RIFF

MUMBAI: From the 6th to the 10th of October this year, under 2022’s brightest full moon, Jodhpur’s magnificent Mehrangarh Fort, dating back to the 15th century, will light up to host an audience witnessing the magic of over 250 performers showcasing the best of Rajasthani, Indian, and global roots music, as well as inventive collaborations between their creators. Jodhpur RIFF, a one-of-its-kind annual  root music festival, is back with a stellar line-up and new acts and collaborations.

“I'm very proud of what we have achieved with Jodhpur RIFF,” said HH Maharaja Gajsingh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, Chief Patron of the festival. “Our Rajasthani folk artists have continued to astonish us, year after year, with their prodigious craft— they honour their roots, while also evolving their music to suit the present day, not to mention their collaborations with international artists. I hope that the festival continues to be a space for people to connect more deeply with our rich cultural heritage, and be a part of this satisfying project of safeguarding our traditions and values.”

Mr. Divya Bhatia, Festival Director of Jodhpur RIFF, said: “This year’s Jodhpur RIFF may well be its most exciting and diverse edition yet. With each edition, the festival begins new collaborations and pushes existing ones to the next level. This year we have a collaboration between Irish and Rajasthani musicians which began three years ago and continued and developed online during the pandemic; dance bootcamps by an ace performer of the Kalbeliya community as well as an award-winning Mexican choreographer; an Israeli singer-songwriter who experiments with French pop, avant-garde, and traditional North African music; and Indian indie and Khasi musicians— both of which we will be featuring at Jodhpur RIFF for the first time. We have artists from seven Indian states [Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh] and eight countries other than India [Mexico, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Mauritius, Israel, Brazil and Turkey] at the festival, four of whom are performing in India for the first time.”

Each day the festival, held in and around Mehrangarh, begins with soulful dawn performances — performances by musicians from Rajasthan’s Meghwal community; Shabad and Nirguni Bhajans; and Kabir Vani in Madhya Pradesh’s Malwi Folk style; and traditional Khasi music — timed to coincide with the sunrise. During the day, festival-goers are encouraged to explore a gamut of traditional Rajasthani performances around the fort. The day will also comprise interactive sessions in which artists will converse with audiences explaining the language and tools of their craft. For instance, a dance bootcamp by Asha Sapera, a reputed dancer and performer from Rajasthan’s Kalbeliya tribe, and Jaciel Neri, the founder of a ‘Moving Borders,’ a Mexican dance production company, or rare interactions with musical maestros Saawan ji and Kachara ji Manganiyar and Chanan ji, Muse ji and Rashid ji Langa, so that the audience may engage more deeply with the rich Langa and Manganiyar musical traditions.  

As afternoon turns into dusk at Jodhpur RIFF, audiences are invited to experience the awe-inspiring music of living legends like Padma Shris Lakha Khan and Anwar Khan Baiya, and Pempa Khan Manganiyar, as well as independent musicians like Bawari Basanti and Harpreet, who have made their mark with an original and experimental approach to the music of the past, rendering it yet more relevant today.   

The penultimate event of each day, however, is the Mainstage, full of show-stopping acts, where incredible musicians from across the world pay homage to their roots, individually and with one another. This year’s highlights include Israeli singer-songwriter Riff Cohen; the Rajasthani-Irish collaboration ‘Citadels of the Sun’, born out of the many musical, folkloric, and historical connections between the two lands; Mauricio Caruso — a Brazilian Guitarist living in Galicia — with a rare style that encompasses classical and traditional Latin American and Galician tunes; Singer-Songwriter Emlyn from Mauritius, a famous performer of Sega (a popular Mauritian musical genre). These are Caruso and Emlyn’s first Indian performances, but ethnic drummer Sjahin During, at this year’s Jodhpur RIFF with his band ‘ARIFA’ — that has members from Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey, the Netherlands and Germany — has performed at the very first Jodhpur RIFF in 2007. This year’s mainstage also features a collaboration between Welsh, Rajasthani and Khasi musicians, a solo concert by Yurdal Tokcan — often cited as one of the best oud players in the world — and the Warsi brothers, who are among the finest qawwals in the Indian subcontinent.

The music lives on late into the night at Jodhpur RIFF, with midnight performances by celebrated Rajasthani musicians in the serene Rao Jodha Desert Park (titled ‘Desert Lounge’), or ‘Club Mehran’ by Maga Bo, who effortlessly integrates Rajasthani traditional and local music with global hip hop and bub. This year’s ‘RIFF Rustle,’ an entirely improvised performance featuring any number of diverse performers from the Jodhpur RIFF roster — coming together as a great impromptu ‘jam’ between remarkable musicians — will be led by Bombay Brass’s ace saxophonist and producer Rhys Sebastian.

While these are some highlights, there will be many more acts, and more music, for those who make the trip to Jodhpur RIFF 2022.


The festival’s program and tickets are available online at