Folk tunes, blues, rock and rap: Taalbelia sets right tone for music lovers

Mandawa (Rajasthan), Jan 28 (IANS) Even the unexpected showers couldnt dampen the spirits of the people who turned up in good numbers for the first edition of the Taalbelia music festival that is underway here.

The four-day musical extravaganza that concludes on Sunday, has been organised at the Mandawa castle by marketing agency Event Crafter in collaboration with the erstwhile royal family of Mandawa and brings alive the array of musical diversity and culture that exists in India.

On a chilly winter evening, the event started off with “The Mangariyan School” who took the audience to new heights with their electric performance. Some 20 children presented the folk tunes of Rajasthan under the guidance of renowned theatre director Roysten Abel.

After that, Ghazi Khan and his companions Anwar Khan, Ghewar Khan, among others, who mesmerised the audience with their performance of “Mast Kalandar” and other songs using indegenous instruments like the kamaicha, which is made of mango wood, and the morchang.

Their performance was accompanied by the “Kalbelia” dancers who hail from Jodhpur and belong to the community of snake charmers.

The second morning began on a soulful note with Sumitra Devi’s melodious folk songs and bhajans dedicated to Meera and Lord Krishna.

Later it was Bhanvari Devi who set the stage on fire with her songs. Her powerful voice hypnotised the viewers as she sang “Kattey” and other folk songs.

It was not just the folk culture and music of the desert land, the event also highlighted the musical talent and the different genres that exist in other corners of the country.

Folk tunes of Punjab found a twist in Hari and Sukhmani’s music who presented their compositions with a touch of rock and the blues. The duo took the event a notch higher when they sang “Jugni”, “Mast Kalandar”, “Aaj Jaane Ki Zidd” and “Sajna Tere Bina” infused with western music along with Manganiyar artists.

From the folk tunes of the desert, the event took a turn towards the blues with the “Soulmate” band from Shillong who presented songs like “Blue is my business”, as also Khasi song, enthralling the listeners with their performance.

Next up was rapper Divine from Mumbai who had the audience on its with songs like “Junglee Sheer” and “Gully Mein”. The lyrics — being funky and colloquial — greatly attracted the youths presented at the venue.

Mumbai’s easy-going acoustic folk-rock act by Ankur and the Ghalat Family enchanted the listeners with their Indi pop music, as did Prateek Kuhad, who had recently lent his voice for the movie “Baar Baar Dekho”.

The Taalbelia festival is spread across three nights and four days, two venues and four stages — Meera Chowk, Risala, Dhobhi Ghat and The Big Ibhah

Also performing will be artists like Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, Rajasthani folk-singer Bhanwari, American saxophone artist George Brooks, the Prem Joshua and band from Goa and Indian Ocean, among others.

The event, which aims to reinvent the concept of destination music festivals, also offers adventure activities, safaris and workshops besides giving visitors a chance to engage themselves on a culinary journey into the delicacies of Rajasthan, also Middle Eastern, Mongolian and Mexican specialities.

(Somrita Ghosh has been invited to the Taalbelia festival by its organisers. She can be contacted at