experience the magic of music

By Team Marwar December 10, 2023

India’s favourite roots music extravaganza, Jodhpur RIFF, held at the magnificent Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, was a veritable buffet of glorious musical traditions from around the world.

On October 26 2023, under the brightest full moon of Sharad Purnima, Jodhpur’s stunning Mehrangarh Fort reverberated with glorious roots music and dance by celebrating Indian and international artistes. Yes, India’s annual roots music festival, Jodhpur RIFF was back with a stellar line-up of performances, held across five days in the blue city of Jodhpur. An incredible auditory experience, fuelled by the distinguished history of the grand mediaeval fort, the festival brought musical explorations in a spectacular ambience and was a treat one would not want to miss.

A platform for musicians

For one and a half decades, Jodhpur RIFF has been able to achieve a positive impact on the folk communities of Rajasthan, serving as a platform for folk artistes to present their music and for younger musicians to practise their craft. In its 16th edition, the festival had a special focus on Rajasthan’s percussion instruments- the dholak, bhapang and khartal. Audiences were treated to star-studded performances and insightful interactive sessions with lesser-known treasures from the world of Indian roots music.

As the norm, the festival continued its tradition of the Bal Mela where more than 2,500 children from schools across Jodhpur witnessed the breadth of Rajasthani folk traditions through interactive performances by several troupes specialising in ghoomer, kathputli, kachchi ghodi, teraah taali and a crowd favourite- Rajasthan’s very own Circus! In addition, they witnessed other young musicians their age taking to the stage and delighting their peers.

Fascinating musical unions

This year’s edition presented exciting collaborations between international and Indian artistes-Cabo Verdean drummer Miroca Paris, for instance-and amongst Indian artistes, bringing together classical and folk traditions of India. The festival is committed to creating a platform where roots artistes are recognised on par with artistes from all traditions. This celebration of varied musical forms makes it one of the most acclaimed roots music festivals in the world.

An illustrious legacy

Over 15 years, the cultural festival has been discovering, supporting and providing a platform to the jewels of Indian and Rajasthani roots music traditions; while also bringing some of the world’s most toasted roots musicians to India. This year too, it left an indelible impact on the revival of Indian roots music.

"Every year, folk artistes amaze us with their talent and skill and we remain deeply impressed by the regard they have for their heritage and their willingness to pass on this priceless oral legacy. We are happy to provide a platform like Jodhpur RIFF to these incredible artistes so they may be recognised and celebrated for their artistry and exemplary musicianship," says HH Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur, Chief Patron of the festival.

Festival Director Divya Bhatia adds, "We are excited to have a whole host of new collaborations, especially amongst Indian artistes to the fore. We had Rajasthani folk artists collaborating with contemporary Indian jazz musicians, and with percussionists from different roots traditions. We also brought roots dance in a way one hasn’t seen before-kathak dance performances set to Rajasthani folk songs and percussion."

The magical fest-beginning at dawn and ending well after midnight-weaves an intricate aura of music and dance into the awe-inspiring architecture of the fort and its history. Overall, the fest made the audience experience the magic of music like never before.