Skip to main content


Sarvar Mirasi And Group

A Musical Odyssey Through Rajasthan’s Rich Folk Heritage

Embarking on a recording session with Sarvar Mirasi and his ensemble promised nothing short of a power-packed musical journey. Within this group, the vast and diverse landscape of folk music came to life in the most captivating way imaginable. With a blend of accomplished instrumentalists and exceptional vocalists, their performance was nothing less than a symphony of tradition and talent.

Comprising ten individuals, this musical collective wielded a diverse range of instruments, from the soul-stirring Sarangi to the whimsical Morchang, the resonant Bhapang, the rhythmic Khartal, the melodic Tabla, the lively Dholak, and the harmonious Harmonium. The ensemble featured a lead singer and four chorus members, each contributing their unique voice to the rich tapestry of sound.

What filled the air that day was the melodious rendition of Rajasthani Maand, a genre akin to the classical Ghazals or Thumri. Their performance transported listeners to a realm where classical nuances mingled with the soulful storytelling inherent in Rajasthani folk music.

However, it’s crucial to note that Sarvar Mirasi’s connection to music runs deep, as he belongs to the ancient Mirasi community. This community’s roots extend from North India to Pakistan, and they have been the keepers of folklore and the oral tradition since time immemorial. In the vast expanse of Rajasthan, you’ll often find these communities nestled in districts such as Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Nagaur, Ajmer, Sikar, Barmer, and beyond.

Sarvar Mirasi, a torchbearer of the Sikar gharana, embarked on his musical journey at a tender age. What’s heartwarming is that he is now passing on this legacy to his own child, ensuring that the flame of this ancient tradition continues to burn brightly. 

The Mirasi musicians of Rajasthan stand as cultural custodians, preserving not only the music but also the stories, history, and traditions of this region. Their performances are a testament to the enduring allure of Rajasthan’s folk music, bridging the gap between the classical and the contemporary, and weaving a rich tapestry of musical heritage that continues to captivate audiences everywhere.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Veer Teja Alghoza Party

Keeping alive the oral traditions of Veer Teja Katha

The enchanting call of the Alghoza led us to Ram Narayan Chaudhary and his group, a kind-hearted man whose presence made our documentation effortless. On that memorable day, this ensemble of eight musicians transported us into a mystical world with the mesmerizing sounds of the alghoza, heartfelt vocals, and rhythmic manjeeras and the dholak.

Their harmonious melodies recounted the captivating tale of Veer Tejaji, a revered figure born in Rajasthan’s Nagaur district. Veer Tejaji, considered one of the 11 major incarnations of Lord Shiva, is celebrated throughout Rajasthan. What’s fascinating is that in many eastern regions, his stories are intricately woven with loud singing, and with the accompaniment of instruments such as manjeera, dholak, and alghoza.

Notably, the alghoza in eastern Rajasthan possesses subtle differences from its western counterpart, primarily in its slightly shorter design.

Veer Tejaji, a legendary folk deity, symbolizes valor and righteousness. His tales, narrated through the beautiful notes of the alghoza, are a cherished part of Rajasthan’s musical storytelling tradition. He was not just a local hero but also a warrior and poet known for his extraordinary courage and commitment to justice. His story, characterized by selfless sacrifice and defense of people’s rights and dignity, finds its perfect expression through the alghoza.

This double-flute instrument, with its soothing melody created by simultaneous flute play, transports listeners to an era of bravery and chivalry. The alghoza’s unique sound beautifully complements the heroism embedded in Veer Teja’s narrative.

Through the power of musical storytelling, Veer Tejaji legend continues to thrive, passed down through generations in Rajasthan. This art form stands as a testament to music’s ability to preserve and transmit cultural heritage, ensuring that the memory of this revered hero remains vibrant and inspirational. Veer Teja’s story, told through the melodious notes of the alghoza, continues to captivate the hearts and souls of Rajasthan’s people, reminding them of enduring heroism and the pursuit of justice.

On another note, the escalating energy of Ram Narayan Chaudhary’s group lighted us all up and gave us the energy to document that day. Post their recording, we also joined them informally and danced a few steps to their energetic tunes.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Gulabo Sapera And Group

 Documenting the Kalbeliya queen – Dr. Padmashri Gulabo Sapera”

The heart of Rajasthan’s cultural legacy beats strong in its eastern realms, where traditions and stories come alive. In this vibrant world, our journey begins with a luminary, a visionary – Dr. Padmashri Gulabo Sapera. To witness her dance is to be transported to a realm where art becomes an experience, a story that unfolds in every graceful movement.

Hailing from the Kalbelia community of Rajasthan, Dr. Gulabo Sapera has etched her name as an icon, a torchbearer of the revered Kalbelia dance form. Her performances are not just dances; they’re a portal into the very soul of people who’ve embraced their roots with a vibrant energy that resonates across the world.

Kalbelia dance, an art form intertwined with the community’s nomadic heritage, encapsulates the harmony of culture and nature. The Kalbelia people, once snake charmers and healers, have seamlessly blended their intimacy with nature into this captivating dance. In modern times, this artistry has evolved into an expressive dance, a reflection of their deep affinity with the world around them which birthed into the form “Kalbeliya.”

The rhythm of Kalbelia dance finds its counterpart in the melodies of traditional instruments. The vibrant notes of the “been,” the pulsating rhythm of the “dhol,” and the soulful cadence of the “dholak” weave an auditory tapestry, accentuating the elegance of the dancers’ movements. This union of dance and music mirrors the Kalbelia people’s age-old kinship with the serpents that inspire their art.

Dr. Gulabo Sapera’s impact transcends the stage, stretching across cultures and continents. Her recognition as a cultural ambassador underscores the universal language of dance. Her performances not only showcase the Kalbelia community’s authentic expressions but also bridge global divides, fostering appreciation for Rajasthan’s cultural wealth.

This dance form has earned a coveted spot on UNESCO’s intangible heritage list, an acknowledgement of its cultural profundity. It’s more than just a dance; it’s a bridge between generations, a canvas painted with threads of tradition, expression, and an enigmatic spirit that whispers of the Kalbelia people’s enduring connection with their heritage.

In the heart of this narrative, Dr. Padmashri Gulabo Sapera’s journey stands as a testament to art’s potency to preserve and propagate cultural legacies. Through her performances, Kalbelia unfurls its captivating tapestry – a world where tradition, expression, and nature converge in graceful harmony. As we celebrate her legacy and the Kalbelia community’s contributions, we invite you to immerse yourself in the rhythm, grace, and enchantment of Kalbelia, Rajasthan’s living masterpiece.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Pooran Yogi And Group

The Nose Flute and Jogiya Sarangi: Musical Magic in Eastern Rajasthan

Have you ever witnessed someone playing the flute? No, we don’t mean your standard flute; we’re talking about a flute played through the nose. Yes, it exists, and it’s a testament to the extraordinary musical talents you can discover when you delve into Rajasthan’s rich cultural tapestry.

Our journey led us to the heart of Eastern Rajasthan, where we were to meet and document the artists of the Jogi community. Among them was an artist of remarkable skill—a singer, a flutist who could even play the flute through the nose, and, last but certainly not least, a master of the mystical Jogiya Sarangi.

The Jogis, primarily found in the eastern part of Rajasthan, are revered for their ability to weave enchanting melodies on the Jogiya Sarangi. This beautiful string instrument serves as a storyteller in its own right, allowing these artists to narrate a diverse array of folk tales. From the tales of Bharthari and Gopichand to the legends of Gorakhnath and the divine stories of Lord Shiva, the Jogiya Sarangi breathes life into Rajasthan’s folklore.

Recording these artists was nothing short of exciting and uplifting. With the lyrics of these tales coursing through their veins, they effortlessly launched into the epic saga of King Bharthari. It was a performance that transcended mere music; it was an immersive journey into the heart of the folk lore.

But it wasn’t just their musical prowess that left an impression. Meeting these artists was a humbling experience filled with laughter and joy. Their warm and friendly nature made the documentation process effortless, transforming it into a shared celebration of Rajasthan’s artistic treasures.

In the world of music, Rajasthan continues to surprise and enchant. The Nose Flute, the Jogiya Sarangi, and the captivating tales they bring to life are a testament to the region’s musical magic. These artists are not just musicians; they are custodians of Rajasthan’s rich cultural heritage, sharing it with the world one soul-stirring note at a time.

So, the next time you hear the haunting melodies of the Nose Flute or the soulful strains of the Jogiya Sarangi, remember that you’re not just listening to music; you’re embarking on a journey through Rajasthan’s history, stories, and the enduring magic of its musical traditions.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Raju Yogi And Group

“Mashak Melodies Echoing Tradition in Every Note.”

In the enchanting eastern landscapes of Rajasthan, where one’s eyes meet the rugged terrains, one discovers a unique treasure of musical heritage – the mesmerizing “Mashak.” Nestled under the category of wind instruments, this extraordinary creation finds its voice in the hands of the Jogis, who employ it to serenade tales of Lord Shiva, local heroes like Bharthari, Gopichand, and Gorakhnath, and a tapestry of folklore that breathes life into the region.

Our journey led us to the talented Raju Nath Yogi, a resident of Mehangi near Jaipur in Rajasthan, who stands as an exceptional Mashak player. Together with his group, they embarked on a musical odyssey to perform the “Shivji ka Bhyavwla,” a composition that unfolds the divine marriage of Lord Shiva. Their instruments of choice included the evocative Mashak, the chimta, harmonium, and the rhythmic heartbeat of the dholak. Against the backdrop of Mehangi’s beautiful mountains, our recording experience transcended mere documentation; it became a vibrant and soulful celebration of Rajasthan’s rich cultural diversity.

The Mashak itself is a testament to the region’s artistic ingenuity. Crafted from goat skin, this instrument finds its existence deeply intertwined with the very land it hails from. Its distinct presence and profound melodies echo through the eastern corners of Rajasthan, capturing the essence of a musical tradition passed down through generations.

The heart of their performance, “Shivji ka Bhyawla,” offers a melodious narrative that transports listeners into the mystical verses of devotion. Gora Bai, an embodiment of the divine Goddess Parvathy, gracefully entreats the revered Brahmin priest to arrange her sacred union with none other than Lord Shiva himself. The divine backdrop for this celestial matrimony is the majestic Kailash Parvat, the abode of the Lord.

As the harmonious notes of the Mashak blend with the chimta’s rhythmic chimes, the harmonium’s resonance, and the dholak’s heartbeat, a vivid story unfolds, painting a picture of divine love and devotion. It’s a musical journey that resonates with the ears, connecting us to the spiritual essence of the Jogi community.

The Mashak, with its evocative melodies and cultural significance, remains a treasured part of Eastern Rajasthan’s musical heritage. It embodies the region’s creative spirit, weaving tales of devotion and divinity into every note.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Raju Devi And Group

The living Heritage of Pabuji ka Phad

Imagine purity personified – it would bear the names of these exceptional artists. Meet Raju Devi and her group, belonging to the revered Bhopa-Bhopi of the Nayak community, residing in the vicinity of Pushkar. For generations, they have passionately nurtured and passed down this cherished folk tradition within their family.

When they perform, something magical happens. Their voices weave a tapestry of beauty that transcends mere singing. Our encounter with these humble artists left an indelible mark, revealing their simplicity and unwavering commitment to what’s close to their hearts – a tradition they’ve lived and breathed.

Their artistry revolves around “Pabuji ka Phad,” an ancient storytelling tradition that has stood the test of time. In the heart of Rajasthan, Pabuji Maharaj is a revered deity, and his Phad narrates the epic of his life.

Now, picture this “Phad” as a scrolled cloth painting, meticulously portraying the events of Pabuji’s life. While the vibrant performances are executed by the Bhopas and Bhopis community, the masterful creation of the “Phad” falls into the hands of the Joshi community, predominantly located in the Bhilwara district of Rajasthan.

This epic, a deeply religious poem venerating Pabuji, spans a remarkable 4,000 lines. To recite it in its entirety demands unwavering dedication, spread across five consecutive nights, with each session stretching for a full 8 hours, commencing at dusk and carrying on until the first light of dawn.

During our encounter, the group graced us with two soul-stirring songs – “Pabuji ka Bhywala” and “Gogaram Ji Bhyawla.” These songs vividly depict pivotal moments from the weddings of Pabuji and Gogaram Ji, transporting us back to those historic events.

Traditionally, the Phad was performed in a captivating format: the Bhopa, with the accompaniment of a Ravanhatta, would sing, dance, and play the instrument, while the Bhopi held a diya (ghee lantern) and sang in unison. Our artists shared that “Pabuji ka Phad” holds a cherished place in Rajasthan’s culture, with people often inviting these priestly singers to recount the valorous tales of the king, seeking good omens and blessings.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Mamta Sapera And Group

Breaking gender norms in the musical world of Rajasthan

Ever come across  a female playing the khartal, morchang or bhapang? 

Well, In the making, there’s a shining star whose musical approach is both unconventional and deeply rooted in her unwavering love for music. Our recording session with Mamta Sapera and her group was truly rewarding, offering us an intimate glimpse into her aspirations and passions.

Mamta’s affinity for music is profound, and her choice of instruments is nothing short of inspiring, challenging stereotypes. She plays the Khartal, Bhapang, and Morchang, traditionally reserved for male musicians in Rajasthan. Her journey began when her curiosity was piqued by the Morchang, hidden away in her mother’s almirah. Despite initial resistance due to societal norms, Mamta’s determination led her to embrace the Morchang as a birthday gift from her father, marking the beginning of her musical odyssey.

From the Morchang, she ventured into the Khartal, then the Bhapang, and now she’s mastering the violin. Her motivation to learn these predominantly male-played instruments stems from a desire to break boundaries and challenge conventions. In her own words, she expressed, “Mujhe kuch hatke karna hai” (“I want to do something unique”) in her sweet tone.

During our session, Mamta’s group treated us to a captivating folk song, followed by a mesmerizing jugalbandi featuring the Khartal, Dholak, and Bhapang. Their performance was not only catchy but also uplifting.

Our motivation to document Mamta Sapera’s journey lies in recognizing her immense potential and her determination to shatter barriers, not only for herself but also for her fellow female musicians and the community at large. Her resolute goal is to create a welcoming space for her peers to learn, grow, and pass on the tradition, ensuring that it thrives in the years to come.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Babulal Bhat And Group

The evolution of Rajasthani Maand

Babulal Bhatt, affectionately known as Guru ji, is a remarkable singer specializing in the traditional Maand geet of Rajasthan. He not only warms hearts with his music but also plays a paternal role for those who know him.

Babulal and his group were from the village Renwal manji in Jaipur. While many people perform reinterpretation folk songs, there are folk singers who drop in the shoes of write and bring new dimensions to the art form as well. Where folk music is to be treated as a living tradition it is also important to constantly evolve and bring newness and creativity into songs, and Babulal ji shares the same idea.

 As a writer and Maand singer, he generously shared his original compositions, including “Mhara sahina padharya dodya mahi,” offering a unique interpretation that piqued our curiosity. He humorously questioned if the beloved “Kesariya balam” had truly arrived, which he later conveyed through his heartfelt performance.

Another composition, “Aulyu,” portrayed the intense yearning of a woman to reunite with her beloved. The entire group, guided by Babulal’s warm leadership, made us feel part of their musical journey. Maand, a folk singing style akin to thumris or ghazals, carries a classical essence and demands vocal prowess and extensive practice.

Historically, Maand graced royal courts and celebrated various themes like romance, valor, separation, longing, and everyday life. This sophisticated genre within Rajasthan’s folk music exudes elegance and grace, conveying stories and events. It harmoniously blends with traditional instruments like harmonium, tabla, dholak, sarangi, and embellishments like bhapang, morchang, taal, khartaal, and more.

In some of Babulal ji’s performances he also employs the violin which is a new finding and innovation in the world of Maand sangeet. 

True Maand singers, like Babulal Bhatt, effortlessly transport listeners into a world of melodic enchantment, where every note carries a tale waiting to be heard.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Hanuman Sahay Bunkar And Group

A Harmonious Blend of Philosophy, Authenticity, and Musical Magic

Nirguni Bhajans of Rajasthan are a soul-stirring form of devotional music deeply rooted in the state’s rich cultural heritage. These bhajans are characterized by their lyrical and philosophical exploration of spirituality, often focusing on the formless, attributeless aspect of the divine, known as “Nirguna.” 

Meeting our Nirguni bhajan artist was an unforgettable experience. Hanuman Sahay Bunkar was a true follower of the wisdom of Nirguni bhajans and Kabir Das’s philosophy. He had this endearing habit of seamlessly weaving dohas (couplets) into everyday conversations, showcasing his deep love for this art form.

What made Hanuman Sahay truly special was his delightful blend of humor and raw authenticity. He could make you burst into laughter one moment and then ponder the profoundness of life the next.

One fascinating tidbit he shared was the reason he preferred calling them Nirguni Bhajans instead of just songs or geet – it’s because these compositions are steeped in philosophy, carrying a unique depth and meaning.

In the nirgun bhajan of Rajasthan, the tambura is referred to as the “Chautara” and is often accompanied by dholak, manjeera, harmonium and in their performance, even the chari (the steel pitcher with sticks). 

The singing style in Nirguni Bhajans is heartfelt and emotive. The singer often infuse their renditions with deep spirituality, pouring their devotion into each note. The lyrics, typically in the local Rajasthani dialects, are profound and philosophical, exploring the relationship between the individual soul (atma) and the universal soul (Paramatma).

The melodies are often characterized by a blend of classical and folk music elements, creating a unique and enchanting musical experience. The songs are sung with devotion, and the tempo can vary from slow and meditative to more lively and celebratory, depending on the mood and theme of the bhajan.

The group sang two songs. The first, titled “Janam Maran Ka Kaate Morcha,” delves into the idea of breaking free from the ceaseless cycle of birth and death. It emphasizes the path to liberation (moksha) through the veneration of Sadhguru’s name and self-inquiry.

The second song, “Sadhguru Sangat Teerath Jal Nirmal,” beautifully conveys the transformative power of being in the company of enlightened and wise individuals. It highlights the purification of one’s own consciousness in such company and calls upon all to seek the pure, holy, and spiritual presence of Gurudev.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Pempo Khan and Group

Jaha dikha bas chah tu hi

Bas raam ka naam hai

 The one who has rhythm in his soul is near to god. Their culture is dependent on yajmaans. But want that it should not vanish.. feels like the younger generation is only acquainted with 25% of the music that this culture has to offer (yangrashaili, dhoda, bhaavan- traditional). wants them to focus on studies but also cultivate respect for them and learn it. 

Pempo Khan is an artist from the Manganiyar community of Jaisalmer. He is a leading vocalist as well as a percussionist in the his musical group. All the musicians in this group formed by Pempo Khan are expert musicians from the same community which has an ages-old tradition to teach their children music since the beginning stages of their lives.

The Manganiyars have a deep-rooted history in Rajasthan as the Rajputs have been patrons to them for centuries. They teach their children music since the beginning stages of their childhoods and instil a great passion for the art form within them. Pempo Khan himself began learning at a very young age from his father, Gaffer Khan and developed a certain level of expertise in the musical form very early in his life. He also learned most of the ragas involved in classical music such as Maad and Bhairavi, and understands the technicalities that go into the composition and structure of a song.

Apart from following his passion for music, Pempo writes poetry in a regional language known as Dingal-Pingal. He has received quite a bit of support from his patrons, The Rathore family Senawaran near the Pokhran region. Due to the unfortunate lack of opportunities within the music industry folk musicians like Pempo Khan have to find other jobs in order to earn a livelihood, especially during offseason. He works as a housekeeper at a resort known as Gorbandh palace for the time being but wishes to pursue his passion for music as his profession. Through this art form, he aims to make an impact on the livelihoods of all the musicians like him and set their lives on a course for prosperity.

Kabir kuan ek hai, panihari anek

Bartan sabke nyaare nyaare

Banda pani sab me ek

Follows all religions. Feels that the value of the soul is above mere traditions and norms that religions bind us in. ‘ I am a Muslim. My name is fakir khan. But look at me. People say that I am a Rajput. Even though I perform at their events, I perform in mandirs, at the dargah, they sing about Shiva, Krishna, Mira. Makes bhajan as well.   

Has issues with organizers many times as they embezzle money. He believes that there should be no mediator between Guru shishya parampara. He wants signing schools in India so that children can learn music without compromising with their studies. 

Pempo Khan himself is deeply knowledgable about classical music and its components such as the ragas. He has gained this knowledge with the help of his father and passes it on to his children as their guru. He loves to sing the ‘Bhairavi’ raga, which can be sung at any time of the day. His talents and abilities show the true meaning of brilliance and dexterity. Using these abilities and a display of various emotions through his music, Pempo Khan wants to make an impact on the Manganiyar community’s presence in the world of music. The group also likes to work with different instruments and styles of music. They have played and composed a few songs along with western instruments such as guitar. 

All of these artists, despite receiving the support of the royal Rajput families that reside in the region have to work in different professions during the offseason to get the financial support needed to feed their families. Through their musical talents, they wish to pursue a career in music and promote the Manganiyar culture across the world and create a sustainable environment wherein these musicians can work with their art forms and prosper.