An eclectic mix of roots musicians set to mesmerise audiences from October 24-28th 2018

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For a truly remarkable 11th year in a row, the city of Jodhpur and the Mehrangarh Fort will play host to Jodhpur RIFF from 24-28thOctober, under the brightest full moon of the year amidst soul-stirring music and earthy charms of groovy performances from Rajasthan and around the world.

Lauded for the sheer variety of soundscapes in some of the most breath-taking spaces that one has seen, Jodhpur RIFF is an international forum where root music repertoires from near and far are brought to the fore. Over two-hundred Rajasthani musicians and more than a hundred other artistes participate in the festival each year.

Announcing the Jodhpur RIFF 2018 edition, Patron of the festival HH Maharaja Gaj Singh II of Marwar-Jodhpur said: “It is heartening to note that Jodhpur RIFF is one of the more respected music festivals in the country. It gives us great joy to have created a modern festival where traditional Rajasthani artists feel at home and their music is showcased and explored and given the space to grow and expand beyond musical and physical boundaries of language and nationality.”

A glimpse of rare musical forms and Rajasthani folk instruments, facilitatedinteractions with folk experts, rubbing shoulders with the legendary masters of the folk traditions and top-notch international musicians – the Jodhpur RIFF experience is unparalleled when it comes to giving the audience a taste of global sounds through carefully facilitated collaborations and a unique program mix… effortless synergies leading us into a delightful musical realm.

Festival Director, Divya Bhatia said: “We have an exciting array of world musical traditions at RIFF this year. Music knows no boundaries and at Jodhpur RIFF we have an opportunity to see just how true that is. Our work has given rise to collaborations not just between Rajasthani artistes and international ones, but between Rajasthani artists themselves. Our training camps will bring forth younger artistes who are learning their traditions and stepping forward to try new paths, new ways of making music and new ways of learning. And more festivals in India are now presenting Rajasthani artists in their programs; it is both exciting and humbling to acknowledge that Jodhpur RIFF continues to pioneer and contribute so dramatically to their presence on the music scene.”

Jodhpur RIFF presents curated glimpses of the extensive repertoire of folk music through a set of focussed musical sessions, programmed for different age and interest groups, such as:

Dawn Concerts: where music lovers can experience soulful root-music performances as the sun rises over the pristine marble and rock monument that is Jaswant Thada.

In Residence: a space where visitors to RIFF have a rare opportunity to meet fascinating artistes from little-known traditions and chat about various folk instruments, art forms and communities of Rajasthan through their performances, demonstrations and facilitated interactions.

Living Legends : a chance to savour deeply nuanced and intricate performances by legends of Rajasthani music against the background of the setting sun.

Desert Lounge at Rao Jodha Park: a midnight folk variety concert, all acoustic and simply moonlit, that goes on till the wee hours of the morning.

The RIFF Rustle: an impromptu collaboration of artists performing at thepenultimate concert every year. The festival appoints an artiste as the ‘rustler’, who rustles up musicians from the festival to participate in this crescendo of the festival… in pairs, quartets, or all together.

The Main Stage: where the best Rajasthani and international artists are seen and heard.

Club Mehran: foot-stomping and hip-shaking to global grooves – a dance experience to be savoured!

Festival Highlights:

In Residence

Music of Kashmir

Drawing on its rich musical and Sufi heritage Shafi Sopori (a renowned Kashmiri Sufi singer), Mohammed Muneem (singer-songwriter, poet and composer from the band Alif) and others will give us a glimpse of what music means to Kashmir, of its different musical traditions and how music helps create dialogue when it is needed most.

Living Legends

Suguna Jogi is a senior Kalbeliya artist from Samrau village near Jodhpur. She has been singing since she was a child and is one of the last few people who keeps the tradition of the songs sung before the Kalbeliya dances alive. Widowed at an early age, she has single-mindedly continued to perform in India and abroad with passion and dedication. Her standing in the Jogi community, strong vocals, committed association with her tradition and sharing her knowledge with other community members make her a real living legend.

Dapu Khan is a senior kamaicha maestro from Bhadli village, near Jaisalmer. He has been a regular presence outside the Jaisalmer Fort for the last 30 years, charming audiences from both India and abroad. He has been acclaimed by the Rajasthan Tourism Board and the Maharaja of Jaisalmer, among others, for his virtuosity with the kamaicha. Jodhpur RIFF is proud to present this doyen of the kamaicha as a living legend.

Dawn Concerts

Hidayat Husain Khan: The youngest son of Ustad Vilayat Khan, Hidayat Husain Khan has music in his blood. He has a rare musical brilliance that allows him to effortlessly cross musical genres and styles. An accomplished sitar player in his own right, his previous collaborators include artists as diverse as Alicia keys and Zakir Hussain. Hidayat Husain Khan carries the torch of a coveted lineage spanning seven generations of outstanding vocal and instrumental musicians.

“Saar Ke Taar” ft. Pempe Khan, Asin Khan Langa and Darra Khan Manganiyar: Jodhpur RIFF presents a one-of-a-kind dawn concert opened by Pempe Khan (a much respected artiste who has enthralled Jodhpur RIFF audiences before) on the Surnai, leading to a rare jugalbandi by young master musicians Asin Khan Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi and Darra Khan Manganiyar on the Kamaicha.

India premiere performance

Vidya Rao: Renowned thumri and dadra singer Vidya Rao will be ushering in the dawn with her melodious voice, exploring the nirguni ang of the musical form. Having studied under stalwarts such as Smt. Naina Devi, Vidya Rao is a torchbearer of the delicately robust thumri style. A scholar, musicologist and author, she brings erudition as well as passion to her gayaki.

Round House Sessions

Hands of Time

A unique Welsh-Indian collaboration begun at Jodhpur RIFF in 2017 comes back this year in a new format. Paying tribute to the age-old tradition of telling tales RIFF 2018 will see the second such Round house session where Welsh and Indian story-tellers and singers will weave together Hands of Time. Mesmerising story teller Angharad Wynne and singer-songwriter Gwilym Morus-Baird will create a tapestry of story and song together with classical Sufi singer Smita Bellur, master kamaicha player Darra Khan Manganiyar and percussionist Sawai Khan Manganiyar.

Peek into the J-RIFF line-up

Mohini Devi

The opening concert on the main stage this year will be presented by Mohini Devi. Hailing from the Jogi community of Dahisar, she is an enthralling singer. She grew up listening to and singing the traditional music of the Jogis. Her voice is uniquely high pitched as there are very few vocalists who can match pitch with the been (pungi), the instrument which is the hallmark of the Kalbeliya art form. This remarkable vocal nuance and dynamic presence will set the stage for the festival.

Legendary Langa Musicians

This year some of the most senior and respected maestros from the Langa community come together for a concert of virtuosity, brilliance, talent and passion. The programme features Kadar Khan Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi and vocals, Nek Mohammed Langa and Bundu Khan Langa on vocals, Noor Mohammed Langa and Meherdeen Langa on the Sindhi Sarangi, Murli and Sataara and Asgar Khan Langa on vocals and harmonium.

“Breathing Life” by Shubha Mudgal
Renowned Hindustani vocal artiste Shubha Mudgal’s newest work titled “Breathing Life” debut’s at Jodhpur RIFF. A unique audio-visual concept that aims to revive the works of some of India’s greatest poets, it is also a tribute to Shubha Mudgal’s prowess as a composer and artiste.

Premiering performance

Wouter Kellerman Band

Winner of many South African Music Awards and a two-time Grammy nominee and winner in 2016, world renowned flautist and music composer, Wouter Kellerman performs with his band at Jodhpur RIFF 2018, consolidating his collaboration with young Rajasthani artists that began three years ago. Kellerman has focused his attention on roots, world and jazz music, exploring the versatility of his instrument and drawing from the deep tribal and folk traditions of Africa, fusing them with classical and contemporary sounds.

Makan Ashgvari

Makan Ashgvari refuses to be categorized. A singer-songwriter, actor, director and teacher living and working in Tehran, he has been performing with rock bands such as Dash, with the jazz band Naima and with the independent experimental music band Bomrani. Ashgvari is the founder of “Otaghkar“, a platform for amateur music. His sound is as eclectic as his passions – combining electronica with spoken word, jazz and pop, he takes his audiences on a journey as personal and rooted as it is contemporary and collective.

India premiere performance

Ana Pinhal

Fado is a tradition of passionate music from Portugal, characterised by longing and bluesy angst. It is an intense experience that draws the listener into the inner world of the singer and the story. Ana Pinhal a fast emerging, brilliant young Fado singer from Portugal, makes her India debut at Jodhpur RIFF.

India premiere performance


The sounds of Kashmir, its poetry, its landscape and its realities in an independent folk-punk sound – the sound that Alif calls home. Based in Pune and founded by artiste Mohammed Muneem, this is a band that brings poetry, music and lived experience to the stage. Muneem, the vocalist and poet, is joined by Hardik Vaghela on keyboards, Chaitanya Bhaidkar on guitars, Karan Chitra Deshmukh on percussion and Amit Gadgil on bass.


Based on a rigorous knowledge of the tradition and the songs of oral transmission, Olaia Maneiro, Sabela Maneiro and Aida Tarrío meet together in a unique encounter where magic, naturalness, spontaneity and musical communion arise from the first minute. The world of the tambourine and the dances of Galicia come together in Tanxugueiras’ sound in an easy, natural way, with a filling of unusual voices, great crystalline sound and a lot of love.

India premiere performance

Jose Marquez

Los Angeles DJ/Producer Jose Marquez’s musical influence is a result of being brought up on a staple diet of Latin and World Music. Always intrigued by electronic sounds, Jose’s mission has been to fuse his love of world rhythms with the dance floor. He burst onto the scene in 2010 with memorable remixes & edits of artists such as Celia Cruz, Nina Simone, Oumou Sangare, etc. Since then, he continues to travel the globe uniting nations on the dance floor with his signature sound performing at major clubs and events. This year he gets down and dirty to set the stage on fire at Club Mehran.

India festival premiere performance

Sawan Khan

Sawan Khan is one of the most melodious and knowledgeable Sindhi Sufi musicians in Rajasthan. Hailing from Dabri village near Jaisalmer. He learnt music from his father Bhikke Khan Manganiyar who was also a Sindhi Sufi singer and then went to Pakistan where he honed his craft under the tutelage of Ustad Bhikhey Khan in Sindh. He has been performing all over India and across the globe spreading the wonder of Sindhi Sufi gayaki. He sings primarily in Sindhi and will regale audiences this year with his resounding voice and songs of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, Bulleh Shah, Ghulam Farid and many more.

Gene Peterson

Leading Jodhpur RIFF’s Rustle this will be Gene Peterson, an extraordinary drummer, pianist and composer from Australia. As a musician, Gene is a virtuosic percussionist, an exceptional pianist, and a masterful entertainer and is renowned for his fresh and exciting approach to live performance. He will be embarking on a new collaboration with Rajasthani musicians at this year’s Rustle. He’ll also be ‘rustling’ up some outstanding impromptu performances with other artists from this year’s line-up!

India premiere performance

Zanmari Bare

From the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, Zanmari Baré is at the forefront of the renaissance of traditional Maloya music. Following in the footsteps of (and frequently collaborating with) Danyèl Waro, Zanmari Baré boils down the 6/8 rhythms of Maloya to their essence: subdued percussion, plaintive vocals, Kayanm and the “bobre”. Zanmari’s lyrics deal with the identity and history of Réunion, telling stories from the parts of the island away from the tourists and sings of tragic destinies, uprooting, belonging and identity.

India premiere performance

Bush Gothic

Defiantly modern, achingly old, this daring Australian bush band from Melbourne, Australia perform songs of criminal women and desperate men from an era of transportation, adventure and gold. Fiddle-singer and band leader Jenny M. Thomas has been described as an ‘Edgy rising folk star’. Along with double bassist Dan Witton and drummer Chris Lewis they toured the UK and Ireland in 2016 & 2017 with sold out concerts in London. Jodhpur RIFF looks forward to hosting these two-time Adelaide fringe award winners and their electric performance.

India premiere performance