07 March, 2021

The Auditory Tree House

At a folk music festival, rare woods resound in an ­ancient fort’s courtyards, telling their own stories

Kamaicha ustad Dapu Khan
Photograph by Jodhpur RIFF/Oijo
The Auditory Tree House

The green room is a const­ru­ctive place. And in a folk festival like the Jodhpur RIFF (Raj­asthan International Folk Festival), it packs a ­curio ­angle too—all the folks’ i­ns­t­ruments have to pass through these gates to get to the main stage. It’s also the most well-informed space the press card dangling from your neck can give access. Just hang around and ­observe all these ­artistes walking in and out with their gear, ­often meeting each other…jamming ­impromptu.

Sanaf, who plays the ‘tar’—a six-string Iranian instrument—as part of Tehran-based artiste Makan Ashgvari’s trio, finds a corner to tune her instrument. She’s soon approached by kamaicha maestro Dharra Khan, who politely enquires, “You’re from Iran. What is this instrument? Do you know of the kamancheh?” The ensuing conversion ends up in a minor scale jam: the percussive, individual string plucks of the tar and the sonorous glissando of the kamaicha wound by steady dholak thumps. An...

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