The first edition of Udaipur World Music Festival showcases over 100 artistes from 12 countries, including Grammy-winner Dobet Gnahoré
It almost sounds too good to be true—a free, two-day music festival in Rajasthan’s picturesque City of Lakes, with a line-up of over 100 artistes that boasts some of the hottest names in world music. But that’s exactly what festival director Sanjeev Bhargava has achieved with the first edition of the Udaipur World Music Festival. “My organisation, Seher, has been designing and conceptualising thematic festivals (like the Delhi Jazz Festival) for 15 years now. Having worked with various international festivals like Edinburgh Festival (London), we now have linkages that allow us to interact with some of the most talented global artistes. That’s how we cast a wide net to rope in such an eclectic-yet-thorough lineup,” he begins, adding that he hopes to show people that there is music beyond rock and roll.
From Saharian soul (Oum) and Afro-beat (Family Atlantica) to jazz fusion (Italy Meets India) and Sufi-French fusion music (Mathias Duplessy & Mukhtiyar Ali), the sheer variety of musical languages has perhaps never been experienced in India. Ask vocalist Sonam Kalra—of Sonam Kalra & The Sufi Gospel project, an ensemble that fuses the devotional music and gospel music (as heard on Coke Studio’s Man Manam)—about their sound and she explains that it is a mixture of prayer, poetry and music that transcend the barriers of religion and language with a message of oneness. Another great example of quintessential world-music is Ivory Coast’s Grammy-winning, pan-African pop musician, Dobet Gnahoré, who is hoping to be inspired by her visit to Udaipur as she’s currently working on her fifth artiste album.
February 13-14. Details: seher.in
Since the two-day musical extravaganza is spread across two venues— Fateh Sagar Paal (afternoon sessions from 2-5 pm) and Railway Training Institute Ground (evening sessions from 6-10 pm)—choosing which artistes to watch, from those coming down from 12 countries—including Flamenco group Tamara & Fernando presenting Paso A Dos from Spain—can be tough. Go early, as the afternoon sessions include a performance by award-winning fado (national music of Portugal) singer, Carminho—who’s making her India debut—and Spanish guitar virtuoso, José María Gallardo del Rey. Also, be sure to catch the closing act of the festival, fusion-rock ensemble Papon and the East India Company. “We will perform an energetic mixture of our own compositions from Bollywood like Jiyein Kyun and maybe some of our classics like Baisara beera,” shares vocalist Angaraag ‘Papon’ Mahanta, who’s currently working on releasing a yet-to-be-titled Hindi-Assamese album.
— Anoop Menon