Rajasthan International Folk Festival ( RIFF) is a musical extravaganza held annually in Jodhpur at the time of Sharad Poornima.
The festival is a celebration of the rich tradition of Folk Music in the remarkable and colourful state of Rajasthan, India. RIFF is set in and around the grand and imposing Meharangarh Fort which dominates the landscape of the city of Jodhpur.
The festivities or musical performances are held almost round the clock from Dawn till the wee hours of the next day in the Rocky Desert surrounding the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort.
This year the RIFF brought into limelight.a fascinating community of musicians , the MANGANIARS. A community of artists from the The Thar desert of Jaisalmer and Barmer.
The Sun rises to the soulful music of musicians at Dawn during the festival at Jaswant Thada.
The Manganiars follow the traditional Oral format of education and their children learn Music from the moment they are born , similar to a fish learning to swim.
Learning by rote from Guru to student , there are no written verses or musical notes to follow. They just follow the rhythm.
Hearing the Manganiar children perform in a Baithak ( interactive sit down) were the most memorable moments during the 5 days of this remarkable festival.
Striking perfect notes and singing in praise of Lord Krishna , the children brought tears to my eyes as each note strung the chords of my heart.
The spellbinding gestures and facial expressions of these child artists completed the musical masterpieces to perfection. Watch for yourself in the following photograph.
The curtains were brought down by an awesome galaxy of Manganiar artists spanning three generations.
The majestic ramparts of the Meharangarh Fort reverberated to the magic of music resonating through its walls.
The powerful voices of the magical Manganiar artists rises in musical harmony in praise of the Maharajas of Marwar. The children were at ease though it was their first performance on stage.
The splendour of their music was well matched by their traditional Colourful turbans or Saafas .
Sharad Poornima is a full moon night when the moon is the brightest and largest in Northern India.
It also announces the arrival of winters ( sharad is winter in Hindi) and also the time when this lovely festival is held in Jodhpur.
Festivals in India generally follow the Lunar calendar and the weather religiously follows as well.
The RIFF provides a wonderful platform to the extraordinarily gifted Manganiars.
Music is the soul of these travelling desert musicians and their only means of livelihood as well.
The enchanting musicians of the desert, The Manganiars sing at Dusk as the moon rises from the horizons of Jodhpur
What can be more enchanting than listening to the soulful music of the Manganiars in the lap of nature under the gaze of a Full Moon.
RIFF you had me enchanted.