Musicians of Rajastan

World music

The region of Rajastan in Northern India is where the gypsies originated, the land from where their big journey started one thousand years ago. Nowadays it is an attractive landscape with maharaja's palaces covering its rocky hills and its great deserts. It is a unique explosion of India's colours and sounds. In this documentary in the heart of Rajastan's capital Jaipur, we meet Hammed Khan, the lead musician of Musafir and the Kawa Brass band who brought Rajastani music and its powerful gypsy tradition to the West.

As the documentary evolves, we meet the group Divana, a group formed by Gazi Khan Barna who belongs to the gypsy caste of 'Mangniar', still living under the feudal system of master and civilian. The medieval structure of Rajastan's community resulted in the construction of instruments especially made for one caste that could not be used by another. The 'Mangniars' are well known for their mastery in castanets. We meet Gullabi Sapera the great dancer from the lower caste of Calbelia, a caste famous for its snake charmers, together with the French guitarist Tieri Roben. They dance and play at her house and they both narrate Gullabi's story which sounds like a novel: from when she was buried alive from her mother to how she survived and became famous through her dancing. We also meet Salil Bhatt a master of the 'vina' instrument and the Dhoad Gypsies of Rajastan who are carriers of a pure tradition where the music is accompanied by a colourful spectacle of dancers and fakirs.

This documentary is a journey into the land of miracles, with the ancient celebration of Holi in the background, connected to the arrival of spring. A celebration full of colors, fire, elephants, hindu ceremonies and lots of fun.

Hammed Han
Kawa Brass band
Gullabi Sapera
Tieri Roben
Salil Bhatt
Dhoad Gypsies

Movie director : Angeliki Aristomenopoulou

Duration : 51 min
Production date : 2006
Production : © Onos Productions

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