The 16th edition of the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (Jodhpur RIFF) is all set to entertain audiences from October 27 to 30. The event will take place at the iconic Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur and aims to bring together a mix of Indian and international roots music and dance.
Maharaja Gaj Singh II, the chief patron of the festival, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating, “Every year, we see folk artists amaze us with their talent and skill. And we remain deeply impressed by the regard they have for their heritage.” He added that Jodhpur RIFF provides a crucial platform for these artists to be “rightly recognized and celebrated for their artistry and exemplary musicianship.”
One of the unique aspects of this year’s festival is its focus on Rajasthan’s percussion instruments—the dholak, bhapang, and khartal. A press release from the organizers noted, “With star-studded performances and insightful interactive sessions, audiences will be introduced to these lesser-known treasures from the world of Indian roots music.”
The festival boasts a lineup of celebrated performers such as the Sharma Bandhu, a vocal quartet famous for their bhajans and Nirguni poetry; Mahesh Vinayakram, a renowned Carnatic vocalist; and international acts like the Estonian group Kuula Hetke, Italian music trio Suonno D’Ajere, and Jasser Haj Youssef, part of the Aga Khan Music Program.
In line with its mission to make Rajasthan’s rich folk music accessible to all ages, the festival will also feature a ‘Bal Mela’. This is a special event where children from schools across Jodhpur are invited to Veer Durga Das Memorial Park, which is festively decorated for the occasion.
The grand finale promises to be a thrilling experience. It will feature a collaborative jam session by rhythm innovator Miroca Paris, Australian percussionist Greg Sheehan, and Bombay Brass’s saxophonist Rhys Sebastian.
Jodhpur RIFF has steadily gained international recognition for its dedication to preserving and promoting traditional art forms. The event is not just a platform for artists but also a celebration of cultural heritage, enriching the social fabric of the community it serves.
With the festival just around the corner, music lovers can look forward to a diverse range of performances that promise to be both entertaining and educational. As anticipation builds, Jodhpur RIFF 2023 aims to live up to its reputation as a vital cultural event that both honors the past and looks toward the future.