Pempo Khan and his clique of musicians and singers come from the Manganiyar community of the Pokhran region in Jaisalmer. Pokhran region is quite popular for its history of being a testing site for nuclear weapons in India. This clearly means that life is not very easy in this region especially due to the extreme climate in the region. These artists come from humble backgrounds within the region and have formed a group that performs at various venues and occasions.
They have the support of Royal families of Rajasthan as well such as the Rathore family of Senawaran near Pokhran. This relationship of the Manganiyar group and their patrons represents a long history of deep connections between the Rajputs and the Manganiyars. Manganiyars always play music at every auspicious occasion for the Rajputs such as wedding ceremonies and festivals.
Pempo’s community is prevalent in western Rajasthan, Jaisalmer, Bikaner. Royal families are their important patron. They feel that the rajputs or yajmaans as they refer them are the main reason that their folk culture has thrived. Sing for them on important occasions like birth, marriage, old age etc, kesariya balam, , songs from birth till death. New generation less interested in fm, they are busy in business, charts new root for themselves… because youngsters prefer new songs their style of siniging id an amalgamation of the old and new song.
About manganiyar traditional instrument is khamaicha. Going by what elders and locals say the instrument is 500 years old and originated in Pakistan before gaining importance in Ahmadabad(ws made inn these two states). Has not been made since the last 10 generations. But Komal Kothari wanted to teach folk to children , they made new kamaicha, to be given to these children so that they could learn. However, ladies of the community preffered harmonium as their instrument in public events.
He has a family of a mother, 7 brothers, children learning music from him. It is commonly claimed that the music of rajasthan is so imbibed in one’s characteristic that even the crying nof the infants is musical. He contendedly mentions that children as young as 4 or five years old are learning and doing well in it (taking interest).
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.
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 peform in mandirs , at the dargah, they sing about Shiva, Krishna, Mira. Makes bhajan as well.
Has issues with organizers many a times as they embezzle money. He believes that there should be no mediator in 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 to 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.