Ameen Khan is a 21 year old all-round musician from Barmer. Primarily, he plays dholak in the group. Apart from that he can also play Harmonium and Khartal and is well versed with most of the folk music instruments. He has learned from his brother Khete Khan and has been into music from almost 12 years. He is a permanent member of this group, and also performs with other groups as well. He belongs to Sunta Gharana, which gave him exposure to music early on in his life, and has been focussing on only music after he left school in 7th standard. He listens to Ghulam Ali’s songs and follows his style very closely. Besides that, Nusrat fateh Ali khan also inspires him. He is well versed in performing sufi and Qawwali songs. His favourite raga is Raga Maand.
Ameen khan is very passionate when it comes to music, and dedicatedly follows a strict routine. He wakes up early in the morning and does Riyaaz for 4 hours from 5-9 am. Then in the evening, he trains young Mirasi musicians at Mahindra Gunsar Lok Sangeet Sansthan, a Music School run by Bax Khan. There he teaches around 25 students, and has been teaching there from quite some time now. His students are already prospering and are performing with established group of folk musicians. He has a dream to perform in foreign countries as well, and bring exposure for his students in the music school.
Anwar Ali ji belongs to Malerkothla, which is also referred to as the musical capital of Punjab. He is a middle aged folk musician who has devoted all his life to Qawwaali music. Music is more than passion for him- he worships his art. Anwar Ali started learning music at the age of just 5 years. He was deeply inspired by his uncle who was a Qawwali singer. He belongs to the Sarandhi gharana. He learnt from his grandfather, Rehmat Qawwaal Ji, who was a well-known Qawwali singer at that time. He was so talented and renowned, that musicians who learnt from him are said to belong to the Rehmat Qawwaal Gharana. Rehmat Ji used to make Anwar Ji sit for two hours, early in the morning, from 5am till 7am, with absolute concentration for ‘riyaaz’ (practice). More than three generations of his family are into Qawwali music. The rhythm of Qawwali is in his blood. He deciphers ‘Sangeet’ (music) as ‘Geet ke Sang’, as in together with the melody of songs. He has the exceptional skill to convert any conversation into a harmonious Sufiana phrase which touches the heart of the listener. An experienced and dedicated Qawwaal, Anwar Ali has been into Sufi and Qawwaali singing since a very long time. He leads a group of Qawwali musicians from Malerkothla, and his group always win the hearts of people wherever they perform.
Ashok khan is 13 and studies in 9th standard, unlike other musicians, this talented man is equally focused on his education as well as music. He has been playing traditional instruments like dholak and morchang since he was young. He has performed in India as well as abroad in Australia, Malaysia, Dubai and was also a part of “Manganiyaar Classroom”. Manganiyar Classroom directed by Roysten Abel is, in a way, continuation of his earlier work Manganiyar Seduction. With 35 little Manganiyar boys what Abel attempts in this production is not just an introduction to the glorious musical reserves of this community, but a kind of activism. He brings to centre stage an India that is not so shining but left far behind. For Manganiyaar Classroom, he earns as much as 10,000 for each concert. In future, Ashok Khan wants to join the army or teach music and wants to make it big out of the country.
Ashraf Khan, 23, has been singing since he was 4 years old. He plays khartal. He has travelled all over India for performances but never got a chance to perform in abroad. Ashraf believes that even musicians should continue their basic education till 12th standard. He wishes to provide the children in his family with basic school education which he considers necessary for making a living these days. He says that although people are fond of folk music, but these people are just a small proportion of the huge population of India, which is the reason why folk music is losing its importance and is confined to mere hotel performances and Tourism propagandas. Their group genre is not defined and can play any kind of music of which he is passionate about.
Askar Khan is another young 18 years old lad in this group. He has been playing Dholak in the group mostly to all the events throughout the country. Askar started learning from his elder brother when he was merely 11 years old. He wants to work hard and go ahead in life in this field and earn name for his family by doing something in music.
Taking spirituality to another level, Bagga Khan lovingly known as Bagge is a ground to earth person with mesmerizing voice. His life is as simple as he is, the only thing he knows is to sing bhajans which he has been singing since he was an eight-year-old kid. He is carrying forward the generation old legacy with such a dedication and faith in his heart for the beloved Almighty. He states that while he sings his bhajans he gets connected to the Almighty and through that he has realized that there is just one Being and each one us constitutes it. He believes in the theory of One Soul – One Universe. Bagga Khan has learned from his father who like him used to sing bhajans just like his previous generations. During the process of learning bhajans he learnt to play Tandoora which adds beauty to his voice. Tandoora in looks resembles Veena as it sounds like it and has five strings. It is played with an equipment which is a ring like structure known as Nakhli (worn in right hand’s index finger). Hearing Bagga Khan takes you to a phase where you feel lost in the moment and could connect with your innersole.
Bakshe Khan, a 35 year old young man is quite amazing when it comes to moving his fingers on the khamaicha. He has been playing and learning this instrument ever since he 9 years old. He is real brother of Mame Khan and like other members in the family, he was initiated into music since a young age. Bakshe Khan is working in Mame Khan i since 8 years, ever since the group was formed and he is thinking of expanding his network. He mostly performs in hotels, at family functions and wherever the occasion demands him to be, like engagement and wedding ceremonies. He has performed in India and in US with the group and individually he has performed in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Pune. He is an expert in playing instruments like Khartaal and Harmonium also.
Bakshe Khan is very ambitious when it comes to his family, and wants to provide financial security to his family. He has 2 kids, and he wishes that his sons combine and maintains a healthy balance of music and education, as he believes that having a graduation is also essential these days. For him, whatever he does, he will do it for his family.
Bhikhe Khan, 32, lives in a village named Jasai, a few km from Barmer city. He belongs to the Meerasi caste. It has been 8 years since he started learning music and now he plays dholak in the group. His grandfather has been the biggest influences in his life. He states that his involvement with them led to the introduction of folk music in his life. He also plays dhol and is keen on learning more folk instruments.
He has been married for more than 12 years and has 4 kids and all of them are doing their schooling. Music is the only source of income for Bhikhe Khan. He has performed in all the major states on India and wishes to perform abroad.
Most of the shows he gets are through a third party involvement which is responsible for the insufficient payment and exploitation.
Bhongal Khan hails from a village called Dau. He went to primary school, but was always interested in music. His family has been into music since generations and he sings and plays Dholak in the group. He has been working with this group since 3 to 4 years. September to January is the peak season for these singers, and he performs in family functions during the remaining part of the year. Every child, even when he cries, has a melody in his voice, so music runs in their bloodline. He has performed in Jodhpur and Jaipur and other places in India as well, and wants to perform in abroad in future.
Bhutte Khan, a young musician is just 27 of age and has been learning folk music since he was 10 years old. He is a learned traditional folk singer who sings all the folk songs which his father – grandfather has been singing from ages. He says that whatever he has learned is the only way of learning in his culture that is just through listening. He tells with pride that in his community, when even a just born child cries, he cries in a raag and rhythm and so there is no necessary need to teach them or send them to some teacher in order to bring passion in them for music. Everyone in his community automatically learns from one generation to another.
Bhutte Khan hails from a village called Dau. He went to primary school, but was always interested in music. His family has been into music since generations and he sings and plays Dholak in the group. He has been working with this group since 3 to 4 years. September to January is the peak season for these singers, and he performs in family functions during the remaining part of the year. Every child, even when he cries, has a melody in his voice, so music runs in their bloodline. He has performed in Jodhpur and Jaipur and other places in India as well, and wants to perform in abroad in future.
Birbal Khan is a budding artist who plays Khartal exceptionally well at his age. He has been playing it with the group at various music festivals all over India since he was 14 years old. All he wants to do in his life is to teach his next generation this art of playing khartal. His dedication and hard work towards the same is commendable.
Champe Khan is a man with charm and thunder both in his voice. When he sings the entire atmosphere gets along with his voice and creates an atmosphere which resonates rhythmic music everywhere. Born in a family of a Manganiyar, Champe has the gift of singing from his childhood. He started learning singing and playing harmonium from the age of 5. Everyone in his family are well skilled Khamaicha, Khartal, Dholak player but he decided to go ahead with singing. With all the major categories of Folk music, he writes and self composes songs which are mostly based on themes like Royal family praise and weddings. He is a multi-talented world musician who has performed on various stages across the world. His music is as enticing as its rhythmically complex.
His passion for singing and harmonium playing is manifest in the way he maintains harmonies, rhythms and in sustaining the grace of his instrument and voice throughout, while accompanying other vocalists and instrumentalists. Champe Khan has traveled all over the world while accompanying senior artists, especially with Kutle Khan and collective in Western Europe and USA, besides visiting other countries. Even apart from going and performing along with senior artists, he has visited to various countries where he has played with his group. He believes it is very important for each artist to understand their folk music in depth. He has a dream to have a collaborative performance with learned musicians from western music, form a group which can perform all over the world to spread love and peace with music. Champe Khan sings various types of songs like traditional folk, sindhi sufi, qawwali, etc. He believes that if he keeps on working honestly and whole heartedly the Almighty will never let him sleep empty stomach and very beautifully he quotes “Khuda uthata khaali pet and par sulaata nahi (Almighty wakes you up with empty stomach but never you sleep with one)”. The man is working as a musician because according to him Almighty has given the job of taking forward music to his community and therefore they follow it full time without any excuse.
Chote Khan has been learning since he was 5 years old. He has been learning it from his father and grandfather. His whole family does the same, follows music. He has done very little study. He knows how to play various numbers of instruments like dholak, dhol, chip, khartal. He wants to learn everything so that he is not left behind. He has learnt mostly from Gaffur khan and Barkhat Khan. He also knows classical music. He has been performing ever since 2000 in various countries like London, Paris, Lorrean, Glasgow ( for Commonwealth Games). He loves to do fusion performances with foreigners. He has learnt to do fusion with the help of his brother Swaroop Khan who performs with Mame Khan. He wants to promote music, especially his Rajasthani cultural folk music.
Dapu Khan Mirasi is 58 years old Khamaicha player. He has been playing in Jaisalmer for past 30 years and lives in a small village named Bhadali. Dapu started learning when he was a child along with his younger brother. They used to sit with khamiacha with their father and from there they started learning and playing the instrument. He has self-composed songs in raag pahadi, rana and malhar. Initially when he started playing sitting at his home the entire neighborhood gathered around his house and listen him playing which gave him a motive in life and that was to pursue this great art of his ancestors. Dapu Khan every day sits at the queen’s palace at Jaisalmer fort with his Khamaicha playing for tourist coming from all over the world. He has make this spot his pet spot since many years back the district collector requested him to showcase the famous Khamicha and welcome the guests entering the Jaisalmer Fort. He has been sitting at this spot since last 25 years and it provides a portion of living for him and his family. Dapu has performed in almost all the major cities in India. He has even played in White House for the then President of the USA, Mr. Bill Clinton who had come to India few years back to Jodhpur and heard Dapu Khan playing with his group.
He is a young talent who has devoted all his life to music and is still learning. Darre is son of the legendary Manganiyar singer Barkhat Khan. Along with singing, he is well trained harmonium player as well. He went to primary school, but was always interested in music. His family has been into music since generations and he sings in the group. He has been working with this group since a long time now. From September to January is the peak season for these singers, and he performs in family functions during the remaining part of the year. He says that every child, even when he cries, has a melody in his voice, so music runs in their bloodline. He has performed in most of the cities in India and other places outside India as well, and wants to perform more in abroad because he wants to more .
Dayam Khan plays Dholak, he found inspiration within his family to learn various musical instruments. He is just 23 years old and plays Dhol, Harmonium as well and can sing too. At a very young age of 8 years, he started playing dholak and has been learning and performing ever since then. Dayam is a multi-instrumentalist and has performed with various bands, and with time has become very comfortable in performing with new artists. He recently got associated with the group and has been quite satisfied as he is getting to learn a lot from the master himself. He wishes to achieve fame in Bollywood, thus giving recognition to Manganiyar community and their art form globally. He has played in various parts of the country and wishes to perform in abroad as well and wants to experience showcasing his skills to foreign audience. Dayam has a very distinctive vision as far as folk music is concerned. He wishes for dholak playing competitions to happen just like singing competitions take place in large numbers throughout India, which he thinks will give a platform to young and talented dholak players and will encourage them to do better. He wants his children to learn traditional folk music as well as classical music so as to come up with an innovative style of music.
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