This Riff isnt raffish!

Updated: Sep 30 2007, 07:37am hrs
After the spectacular success of the Jaipur festival, Marwars leading city and Rajasthans second city has planned its own festival the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF). And the musical cadence is no accident the festival, right from its inaugural year this time will concentrate on music mixing the local earthy melodies of the region with more pan-Indian and even international notes.

The festival will be hosted at Mehrangarh Fort, which was recently voted the best by Time. This has the makings of a truly global festival, says Maharaja Gaj Singh, whose Mehrangarh Museum Trust (MMT) is collaborating with Jaipur Virasat Foundation in organising this four-day music jamboree. It will see leading names like Hariprasad Chaurasia, Indian Ocean, and about a 150 other musicians perform in the spectacular courtyards of the fort, setting the nights alive as Sharad Purnima full moon brightens the sky. Apart from the nightly cresendoes, which all involved expect to last till the wee hours of the morning, there are a series of other music and folk-art related events planned.

The festival aims to provide a platform to local musicians, often from economically deprived backgrounds and made to feel inferior in the company of others, says Faith Singh of JVF. This is the first time folk musicians will perform inside the fort, along with classical ones, she beams. And the fort seems all ready to host visitors from around the world as the festivals executive director, Owen Mortimer oozes confidence that it will be an experience to remember for those who spend October 25-29 there. Marketing has been the biggest challenge, but that too should sort itself out in later editions, he says. We are depending on sponsors right now, but going ahead we should be able to sustain ourselves, says Singh. Possibly a step towards making local musicians part of the economic paradigm too.

ST