The Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival
Celebrating gypsy voyages, Mehrangarh Museum Trust kick started the very first edition of the Jodhpur Flamenco & Gypsy Festival(JFGF) from 13th – 15th March 2014. Hosted at the Mehrangarh Fort at Jodhpur, the three day musical event was held with an objective of bringing the flamenco tradition to India. The fact that Rajasthani folk music and Spanish Flamenco resonate with many common threads, lays the foundation of the festival.
The festival attracted many visitors not only from India, but France, Italy, Spain, Poland & America. The three-day festival continued to set the stage for music and dance performances by 25 Rajasthani and 19 international artists from world over culminating in enchanting evenings followed by gala dinners’ and after-parties. A gamut of different cultures was brought to the forefront in a first-of-its-kind dance and music festival.
Pepe Habichuela, a Flamenco musician, who was one of the participants at the JFG Festival, says, “The well-conceptualized JFG Festival is an emotional experience for Gypsies as it is bringing us back to the roots. Flamenco drives inspiration from the region it lives and this festival gave re-birth to classical flamenco to grow. The fusion with Indian music is the most rhythmic collaboration and it is a new door opened for us. The local artists here beautifully understand the Flamenco music and play it by their heart.”
The festival witnessed the glitz and glamour of celebrities who were absolutely stunned by the performances. Shobhaa and Dilip De, Sonali Bendre, Fahad Samar & Simone Singh, JJ Valaya, Devyani Khobragade, Naveen Agarwal were seen amongst many others.
Shobhaa De, Indian Writer & Columnist says, “The entire concept of the JFG Festival is exceptional because you will never get this electrifying combination of global musicians coming together with local folk singers anywhere else in the world. Flamenco and Gypsies - wow! And Jodhpur provides the JFG a truly magical setting. It showcases local culture, music and dance in an ambience that is entirely enchanting. It was an absolute treat to enjoy top Flamenco artists of high repute performing over three nights with Indian dancers and singers. The whole package - a unique festival under the stars at a 500 year-old fort - deserves wider recognition as a vital cultural property. I hope the next edition of the JFG gets bigger and receives more attention on the international culture circuit.”
Fahad Samar, Indian Author of Best Selling Book ‘The Scandal Point’ thoroughly enjoyed his time at the festival. He comments, “The festival was magical, mesmerizing and overall Mehrangarh Fort is the most perfect venue for any kind of event like this. And the fact that this is the return to roots of Gypsies all over the world is just another manifestation of how Mehrangarh and His Highness have been doing wonderful innovative things to further enhance Jodhpur as the cultural capital of India.”
Simone Singh, Indian Actor, shares her experience about the festival, “The concept of the festival makes us wonder why it didn’t happen before. It was really something that was crying out to be done. If so many Gypsy communities of the world can trace their lineage back to Rajasthan, how perfect can that be to bring together two communities that have originated from here, which is put together in form of music & dance festival. The venue of the festival is incredible. Every performance held at Mehrangarh Fort is improved by its sheer location. It is just so magical that it brings in a new element of exuberance to performances when it’s lit up.”
Latin jazz pianist Chano Dominguez made the post-bop, fusion, and flamenco influenced music that found its references in his Andalusian roots. He set the ambience with the tempo rising bit-by-bit with El Bola (Guitarist), Karen Lugo (Flamenco Dancer), Queen Harish (Rajasthani Folk Dancer) joining in with their compositions.
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