Jaipur Music, Dance and other folk festivals

#1 Mar 16th, 2016, 16:15
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Yesterday, I was witness to the inaugural ceremony of ''Navras" - Performing Arts festival that will continue till 22nd March. I thought of sharing a photo and a quick note about what I saw because it is exceedingly rare to see these many performers on the same stage and in this unique stage set.

The Manganiyar Seduction is a traveling music production produced by Roysten Abel. The manganiyars are a desert faring caste of court musicians that faced dwindling patronage with the loss of privy purses in Rajputana. These folk artists are Muslim, their forefathers were Hindu and the complex lyrics reflect that. Yesterday they sung a single track penned by Sufi mystic bulle shah for over 60 minutes. The stage set is an iron rack of approximately 34 cubes and cuboids, stacked atop each other, and red velvet curtains give it the appearance of a jewellery box.

Their instruments are traditional rajasthani / Indian classical instruments - (quote below from the site of amarrass records who gave the manganiyars their first Vinyl LP and CD)

Quote:
The rounded kamancha; the sarangi, arguably the most difficult Indian instrument to master, it has upto 40 strings, most of which hum as they are caressed by the bow while the three main strings are guided towards notes by the fingernails of the player; there is the algoza or double flute; the tiny, but potent, morchang, held delicately in the performer’s mouth, its taut reed is plucked to produce twangs that talk; then there is the khartal, just two smooth pieces of wood, held in each hand, that are made to converse in the intricate language of claps by gravity and the magic in the palms that hold them.
You may find a troupe of a few in jodhpur, jaisalmer or bikaner but never so many, not in this form and of this quality production. Turned out that the troupe has been together in this form for ten years and have performed in US, UK, Aus, NZ and elsewhere in India but yesterday was their first ever performance in their home state. You can find bits of their performance on youtube.

#2 Mar 17th, 2016, 08:25
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Saw them a few years back here in Sydney. They did a fantastic version of Chirmi and Nimbura. I have a cd somewhere in the house.
#3 Mar 29th, 2016, 14:45
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Kutchi Ghodi

A folk dance form, at present performed in many festivals as a 'Rajasthani' dance is in fact one that made its way to the Shekhawati region from Kutch of Gujarat. Called Kachhi or Kutchi Ghodi (lit : The mare from kutch), this dance involves a make believe form of a mare. The minimum number of dancers are two but four provides for a better fleshed out storyline. Purportedly enacting a wedding procession, this mare, carrying the groom is herself is given to mood swings and occasionally stalls. The supporting cast involve musicians (seen partially) carrying a large brass horn called Bargu and another who holds a parasol (should be a larger umbrella, really) over the bridegroom. Other stories involve soldiers and bandits, etc.

In this performance a second dance - characteristically Rajasthani - has been mixed. Ghoomar, originally a Bhil dance , was adopted by the royal household of Jaipur and if done correctly is a sublime performance. Sadly it has been twisted to cater to tourists' whims and is now performed in various venues within and outside the state. Sometimes, I find the performance unrecognizable. In this performance, the context setting was correct and the ladies were acting as the welcoming party (from the bride's side) and performing manuhar on the groom's. These ladies wear lehnga (skirts) decorated with a characteristically Jaipur gota patti (large silverine and golden bands) and on their forearms are ornaments reminiscent of the tribal roots of the dance - bajubands (lit: upper arm bangles). These used to be ivory once upon a time, but of course they are plastic now.

I photographed this last november, didn't get around to writing about it until now. Thought I'd share...

Last edited by vaibhav_arora; Mar 29th, 2016 at 18:04..

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