Mumbai: The fourth Jodhpur RIFF, which combines traditional Rajasthani artists with contemporary India, will be held Oct 12-16 in the desert state. It will not only bring together some of the best folk musicians, but also provide a platform for them to take a leap and make a mark on international arena.
Hundreds of musicians and performing artists from across Rajasthan and around the world will come together at the splendid and culturally rich heritage site, Mehrangarh Fort, to celebrate their musical heritage and create new sounds through innovative collaborations.
"First year was 2007, but in 2008 there was a calamity in the fort just 10 days before the event and we had to cancel it. So we had to restart the festival in 2009," Divya Kumar Bhatia, the director of Jodhpur Rajasthan Internal Folk Festival (RIFF), told IANS.
Jodhpur RIFF, which has patrons like legendary Rolling Stones` frontman Mick Jagger and erstwhile Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Jodhpur, also focuses on providing source of livelihood for the traditional artists of Rajasthan.
"Last year eight Rajasthani artists, who have performed at the festival in the previous years, got a chance to show their prowess at the 6th Itunes Festival in London. Not just that, this year three traditional artists have been invited by the Edinburgh International Festival, which started in 1947 and is the oldest music festival," informed Bhatia.
"This is for the first time that Rajasthani folk artists are presenting a folk performance at this international festival. Never ever have Rajasthani artists performed there, so it`s a big first and it came across because the artistic director came to Jodhpur RIFF and saw the performances," he added.
A stringent search goes on throughout the year to find the gems that are still raw and have a talent that the world needs to see.
"We have regional festivals, which we do in villages with locals. Our audiences there are around 5,000 people. That platform for us is to see local talent. We document artists. We already have over 1,200 artists whom we have documented in our database. So basically we have a fair amount of research activity taking place throughout the year," explained the director of the festival.
Till now they have short-listed 175 Rajasthani musicians. But at the main event 145 will perform.
The festival has also seen performances of known names like Rekha Bhardwaj, Ustad Sultan Khan, Ram Sampath and Sona Mohapatra in the past.
It is a partnership project involving two heritage trusts - Mehrangarh Museum Trust and Jaipur Virasat Foundation. The festival has also been endorsed by UNESCO as a "Peoples` Platform for Creativity and Sustainable Development".