Thursday, May 19, 2022

Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort set to resonate to gypsy, flamenco beats

By Nivedita
Jodhpur, April 2 (IANS)
The magnificent ramparts of Mehrangarh Fort, one of the largest such in India and built over five centuries ago, would reverberate to the sounds and movements of hundreds of gypsy feet and flamenco dancers from all over the world as it hosts the second edition of the Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival starting here on Friday.

The organisers promise a memorable musical saga at a venue once described by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the eighth wonder of the world and about whose architectural beauty and splendour people have written odes to, particularly its mesmerising effect at night.

The idea of the festival this year is to “develop a new definition of folk music and help create a fusion that has the essence of gypsy culture of Rajasthan at its core”, said Roberto Nieddu, the managing and artistic director of the fest.

“The second edition of Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival is hosted in an endeavour to help preserve and encourage local talents, while creating a collaborative platform for global artists to develop fresh music,” Nieddu told IANS.

“In this edition, we intend to build upon the successes of the previous edition and take the legacy of folk music forward.

“In an effort to foster a greater experimental musical atmosphere, this year we are inviting budding local talent to collaborate and perform with established artists. This will help create an unforgettable musical experience and establish a niche for folk music in the country,” added Nieddu.

Over three music-filled evenings, the festival will witness performances by flamenco legends like Chano Dominguez, Karen Lugo, Naike Ponce, Victor Guadiana, Israel Varela, El Bola, El Indio, Pablo Dominguez, Javier Colina and Daniel Navarro.

The festival will also host Turkish Gypsy music legends Berk Gurman, Gurkan Ozkan, Serdar Pazarcioglu, Onur Gugul and Alaattin Kabaci, performing along with local Rajasthani talent like Desert Strings, Footprints of the Desert, Sounds of the Sands, and Kalbelia dancers and gypsy musicians.

With live music at its core, this year’s performances are curated to showcase the evolution of Flamenco and Gypsy tradition and blend them with local folk music. The endeavour is an attempt to create a unique music festival that propels the Gypsy tradition across the musical horizon.

Also, the festival’s main objective is to promote the link between Rajasthani folk musicians and the legendary Flamenco and Gypsy artistes that live around the world.

It will highlight the rich heritage of Rajasthan and the importance of keeping folk music alive as well as presenting a more contemporary view of desert music and dance.

“The festival would like to trace the routes that the nomadic gypsies of Rajasthan and northern India took thousands of years ago, find artistes with a gypsy background and bring them back to their ancestral roots,” said Nieddu.

Adding punch to the entire feel of the festival will be Mehrangarh Fort as Nieddu felt it evokes a feeling of going back in time.

“It was from this area that many gypsies started their journey across the continents so many generations ago. We feel that the spectacular backdrop of Mehrangarh Fort sets the magical mood that brings the musicians together,” he contended.

“With this edition, we are expecting to host another amazing edition of Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival and to continue on the journey of promoting the musical heritage of the Langa musicians and Kalbelia dancers that is an extremely important part of Rajasthani culture,” he added.

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of the festival’s organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at

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