Monday, November 24, 2008


GDS Promotions at the Civic


Snow in the morning, but by the evening we were transported to the colourful desert of western Rajasthan. Seven turbanned musicians and a spectacularly dressed dancer performed traditional folk music to a large and appreciative audience.

Their repertoire is to be heard at festivals and feasts, and their songs are often based on poetry from the great Sufi tradition – a text by Bulesha began part two.

Instruments included the dholak, a two-headed drum, and the khartal, two pieces of wood used like castanets, which were played with superb style, almost a ballet of its own, especially in the fourth piece, written with 7 beats in the bar.

The bowed kamaicha, including some metal strings, produced some fascinating effects.

Khatu, the Kalbelia Dancer, bejewelled and lightly veiled, performed the Black Snake, accompanied appropriately by the traditional charmer's flute, the pungi, and incorporating some impressively supple tricks and some vertiginous whirling, as also in a lively song of longing, loss and lemons in the second half.

An intriguing glimpse into an ancient tradition, and very accessible to everyone. But I did sometimes wish I could understand the words of these wonderful songs ...

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