Musafir of Rajasthan

The Thar Desert… The sand… The silence…

A man is coming, white dressed, wearing a dazzling colorful turban.

He is sitting cross-legged and is starting to play a
fabulous melody with his jew-harp, accompanied by the rhythm of the dholak and bring you to the wanderers, who are Musafir, travellers since centuries all over the Rajasthan, all over the world…

As a nomad told to his son: " For us, to stay at the same place is to stop the rhythm of the univers and die". Hameed Khan "Kawa", the creator and artistic director of Musafir and Jaipur Kawa Brass Band belongs to this tradition. His father and forefathers were musicians, exponents of both folk and classical Indian music. Soon, Hameed, a master tabla player, left his native place: Jaipur to travel through the world and specially Europe, in France where he has been living since 1984.

Hameed Khan played with Indian classical artists such as Lakshmi Shankar, Narendra Bataju, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt or folk artists such as Gulabi Sapera… and spread his culture in a particular way, sharing it with artists of different persuasions. The Trio Erik Marchand, was created as a subtile fusion of French Brittany, Arabian and Rajasthani traditions. He also performed with Chico Bouchikhi « Gypsy King », Najat Aatabou, Thierry Robin « Gitans », Lo'Jo, Henri Agnel, Natacha Atlas…or choregraphers such as Carolyn Carlson…

Experienced, Hameed wanted to continue his journey with artists from his own tradition: musicians, dancers, fakirs from Rajasthan.
Musafir was born…
Coming from all corners of the Rajasthan, the « Langas » and « Manghanyar » are renowned wandering poets who sing a wide repertoire of ancient songs from Thar Desert and play the sarangi (Indian violin), kartals (castanets), the murchang (Jew's harp)… Musicians of the Court of Maharajas sing, play the harmonium, the dholak (two headed drum)… Classical musicians interpret elaborate songs and play the tablas… The « Sapera » and « Kalbelya », known as the snake charmers, belong to the most ancient Gypsy tradition, live with snakes, the guardian of spiritual truth, perform devotional dances, whose contorsions evoke the undulations of the cobra at the sound of the double flute (satara). The fakirs and fire-eaters swallow a sabre, dance on nails with a wodden wheel at the top of their head…

Together, they propose an ethnic and spiritual music, where Gypsy, Hindu and Muslim cultures are together. A music, sometimes very closed to the qawwali of the Pakistan, on the other side of the border of the Thar desert like the great Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan interpreted.

Hameed Khan has been arranging the music and the show by emphasizing the talent of each artist to send messages of love, happiness and hope.

In Rajasthan, as in all desert countries, water is rare and precious. This is why the rainy season is a time of happiness and love, as many songs tell us in the new compact disc : « Barsaat ».

The new show of Musafir celebrates « Barsaat », which means rain in rajasthani language.
(Biography supplied by artist management 2010)