Timed every year to coincide with “Sharad Purnima”, the brightest full moon of the year in north India, Jodhpur RIFF features a series of spectacular concerts and events based in and around Mehrangarh Fort. For a truly remarkable 11th year in a row, the city of Jodhpur and the Mehrangarh Fort will play host to Jodhpur RIFF under the brightest full moon of the year amidst soul-stirring music and earthy charms of groovy performances from Rajasthan and around the world.
Announcing the Jodhpur RIFF 2018 edition, Patron of the festival HH Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur said, “It is heartening to note that Jodhpur RIFF is one of the more respected music festivals in the country. It gives us great joy to have created a modern festival where traditional Rajasthani artists feel at home and their music is showcased and explored and given the space to grow and expand beyond musical and physical boundaries of language and nationality.” Festival Director, Divya Bhatia added, “We have an exciting array of world musical traditions at RIFF this year. Music knows no boundaries and at Jodhpur RIFF we have an opportunity to see just how true that is. Our work has given rise to collaborations not just between Rajasthani artistes and international ones, but between Rajasthani artists themselves. Our training camps will bring forth younger artistes who are learning their traditions and stepping forward to try new paths, new ways of making music and new ways of learning. And more festivals in India are now presenting Rajasthani artists in their programs; it is both exciting and humbling to acknowledge that Jodhpur RIFF continues to pioneer and contribute so dramatically to their presence on the music scene.”
The festival presents curated glimpses of the extensive repertoire of folk music through a set of focussed musical sessions, programmed for different age and interest groups, such as:
Dawn Concerts– Music lovers can experience soulful root-music performances as the sun rises over the pristine marble and rock monument that is Jaswant Thada.
In Residence– A space where visitors have a rare opportunity to meet fascinating artistes from little-known traditions and chat about various folk instruments, art forms and communities of Rajasthan through their performances, demonstrations and facilitated interactions.
Living Legends- A chance to savour deeply nuanced and intricate performances by legends of Rajasthani music against the background of the setting sun.
Desert Lounge at Rao Jodha Park- A midnight folk variety concert, all acoustic and simply moonlit, that goes on till the wee hours of the morning.
The RIFF Rustle– An impromptu collaboration of artists performing at the penultimate concert every year. The festival appoints an artiste as the ‘rustler’, who rustles up musicians from the festival to participate in this crescendo of the festival… in pairs, quartets, or all together.
The Main Stage– Here the best Rajasthani and international artists are seen and heard.
Club Mehran- Foot-stomping and hip-shaking to global grooves – a dance experience to be savoured.
Music of Kashmir– Drawing on its rich musical and Sufi heritage Shafi Sopori (a renowned Kashmiri Sufi singer), Mohammed Muneem (singer-songwriter, poet and composer from the band Alif) and others will give us a glimpse of what music means to Kashmir, of its different musical traditions and how music helps create dialogue when it is needed most.
Living Legends- Suguna Jogi is a senior Kalbeliya artist from Samrau village near Jodhpur. Her standing in the Jogi community, strong vocals, committed association with her tradition and sharing her knowledge with other community members make her a real living legend. Dapu Khan is a senior kamaicha maestro, a living legend from Bhadli village, near Jaisalmer. He has been acclaimed by the Rajasthan Tourism Board and the Maharaja of Jaisalmer, among others, for his virtuosity with the kamaicha.
Dawn Concerts– A one-of-a-kind dawn concert will be opened by “Saar Ke Taar”, Pempe Khan on the Surnai, leading to a rare jugalbandi by young master musicians Asin Khan Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi and Darra Khan Manganiyar on the Kamaicha. Hidayat Husain Khan The youngest son of Ustad Vilayat Khan, Hidayat Husain Khan has music in his blood. He is an accomplished sitar player in his own right. He has a rare musical brilliance that allows him to effortlessly cross musical genres and styles.
Round House Sessions
Hands of Time – A unique Welsh-Indian collaboration begun at Jodhpur RIFF in 2017 comes back this year in a new format. Paying tribute to the age-old tradition of telling tales, the audience will see the second such Round house session where Welsh and Indian story-tellers and singers will weave together Hands of Time. Mesmerising story teller Angharad Wynne and singer-songwriter Gwilym Morus-Baird will create a tapestry of story and song together with classical Sufi singer Smita Bellur, master kamaicha player Darra Khan Manganiyar and percussionist Sawai Khan Manganiyar.
Mohini Devi –The opening concert on the main stage this year will be presented by Mohini Devi. Her voice is uniquely high pitched as there are very few vocalists who can match pitch with the been (pungi), the instrument which is the hallmark of the Kalbeliya art form. This remarkable vocal nuance and dynamic presence will set the stage for the festival.
Legendary Langa Musicians-This year some of the most senior and respected maestros from the Langa community come together for a concert of virtuosity, brilliance, talent and passion. The programme features Kadar Khan Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi and vocals, Nek Mohammed Langa and Bundu Khan Langa on vocals, Noor Mohammed Langa and Meherdeen Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi, Murli and Sataara and Asgar Khan Langa on vocals and harmonium.
“Breathing Life” by Shubha Mudgal- Renowned Hindustani vocal artiste Shubha Mudgal’s newest work titled “Breathing Life” debut’s at Jodhpur RIFF. A unique audio-visual concept that
aims to revive the works of some of India’s greatest poets, it is also a tribute to Shubha Mudgal’s prowess as a composer and artiste.
Vidya Rao– A renowned thumri and dadra singer, Rao will be ushering in the dawn with her melodious voice, exploring the nirguni ang of the musical form
Wouter Kellerman Band– Winner of many South African Music Awards and a two-time Grammy nominee and winner in 2016, world renowned flautist and music composer, Wouter Kellerman performs with his band, consolidating his collaboration with young Rajasthani artists that began three years ago.
Makan Ashgvari– A singer-songwriter, actor, director and teacher living and working in Tehran, he has been performing with rock bands such as Dash, with the jazz band Naima and with the independent experimental music band Bomrani. Ashgvari is the founder of “Otaghkar“, a platform for amateur music.
Ana Pinhal- A brilliant young Fado singer from Portugal, makes her India debut at the festival.
Fado is a tradition of passionate music from Portugal, characterised by longing and bluesy angst. It is an intense experience that draws the listener into the inner world of the singer and the story.
Alif– The sounds of Kashmir, its poetry, its landscape and its realities in an independent folk-punk sound – the sound that Alif calls home. Based in Pune and founded by artiste Mohammed Muneem, this is a band that brings poetry, music and lived experience to the stage. Muneem, the vocalist and poet, is joined by Hardik Vaghela on keyboards, Chaitanya Bhaidkar on guitars, Karan Chitra Deshmukh on percussion and Amit Gadgil on bass.
Tanxugueiras-Based on a rigorous knowledge of the tradition and the songs of oral transmission, Olaia Maneiro, Sabela Maneiro and Aida Tarrío meet together in a unique encounter where magic, naturalness, spontaneity and musical communion arise from the first minute. The world of the tambourine and the dances of Galicia come together in Tanxugueiras’ sound in an easy, natural way, with a filling of unusual voices, great crystalline sound and a lot of love.
Jose Marquez– Los Angeles DJ/Producer Jose Marquez’s musical influence is a result of being brought up on a staple diet of Latin and World Music. This year he gets down and dirty to set the stage on fire at Club Mehran.
India festival premiere performance
Sawan Khan-He is one of the most melodious and knowledgeable Sindhi Sufi musicians in Rajasthan, hailing from Dabri village near Jaisalmer. He sings primarily in Sindhi and will regale audiences this year with his resounding voice and songs of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Bulleh Shah, Ghulam Farid and many more.
Gene Peterson-Leading Jodhpur RIFF’s Rustle this will be Gene Peterson, an extraordinary drummer, pianist and composer from Australia. He will be embarking on a new collaboration with Rajasthani musicians at this year’s Rustle. He’ll also be ‘rustling’ up some outstanding impromptu performances with other artists from this year’s line-up!
Zanmari Bare– From the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, Zanmari Baré is at the forefront of the renaissance of traditional Maloya music. Zanmari’s lyrics deal with the identity and history of Réunion, telling stories from the parts of the island away from the tourists and sings of tragic destinies, uprooting, belonging and identity.
Bush Gothic-Defiantly modern, achingly old, this daring Australian bush band from Melbourne, Australia perform songs of criminal women and desperate men from an era of transportation, adventure and gold. Fiddle-singer and band leader Jenny M. Thomas has been described as an ‘Edgy rising folk star’.
Festival dates – October 24-28th 2018, Venue – Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur
For bookings – www.jodhpurriff.org