Essence of music and art beyond borders- Experiences at the 2nd Edition of Ranthambore Festival

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After a spectacular run with around 3000 attendees in January 2017, Ranthambore Festival returned to the magnificent Nahargarh Palace for a second edition this month. The music and wildlife conservation festival enthralled the guests from January 19th to 21st. If you think that its first edition showcased the richness of Rajasthani folk music and wildlife landscape, mind you the second edition marvelously returned with even newer sounds, fresh ideas and terrific activities.

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Picture an open theatre in the midst of an imposing palace, complete with manicured plants and shady trees. ‘Bageechi’ played host to the enlightening documentaries like “Looking for Sultan by Gautam Pandey”, kathak Performance by Minu Garu and an informative Wine Tasting session by Grover Zampa.

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Now imagine, as the sun begins to set, you are sitting around a marble white step well swimming pool – “Book a Smile Hathikund” and listening to the melodious Bangaladeshi musician Labik Kamal, international world music ensemble Trio Benares from Germany, and the live performance by actor and musician Farhan Akhtar and his band. The well-curated line-up of musical performances on all three days also included a soulful rendition by Ustad Ma Zila Khan, and the mind blowing Nagada ensemble.

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Music, as we know it, is a solace for a longing heart; an escape from the daily and the mundane; and yet at other times it becomes the fuel to fire the imagination. It transcends the usual barriers of language. Music is a language by itself; a sort of cultural currency that goes beyond the constraints of myriad human constructs. It is for this reason, the melancholy song sung by this forlorn heart succeeds in moving its listener, even though one may or may not understand the words. It is for this reason, patrons of music, whatever is the genre of their preference appeared at Nahargarh Palace to sample the collective, ecstatic experience of a musical art form.

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In its three-day schedule, the festival successfully showcased some of the best in Rajasthani folk music by providing a platform to little-known yet immensely talented folk artists and prominent wildlife conservationists, alike. A 12-person nagara ensemble led by Nathulal Ji Solanki (Ajmer), Kanha Ram (Gujarat) on ektara and khartaal, Mohan (Bhuj) on gadha gambhira, Ram Swaroop (Alwar) on bakri ki masak enlivened the First Stone Amphitheatre of Nahargarh Palace.

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The artists’ performances and the music made the guests stir from within while the amazing Drum Circle by Omkar Salunkhe was an experience unforgettable. However, what can easily be called the highpoint of the festival was a dazzling performance by 35-handpicked (by Abhimanyu Alsisar, himself) Rajasthani folk musicians at the Amphitheatre.

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In addition to showcasing the rich musical traditions, Ranthambore Festival also hosted intriguing all day workshops like pottery making workshop by Dastkar, Block printing & Toy making workshop by Dhonk, lac bangle making by Shadab Khan, Khartaal master class by Imammuddin Khan and Bhapang master class by Yusuf and Mehmood Khan.

Given the immensely encouraging response received last year, the Souk experience at the Ranthambore Festival was even more elaborate and magical this time. It presented an eclectic blend of the most sought after brands in the country.

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This time around, Ranthambore Festival also extended a series of thrilling experiential activities like a heritage bicycle tour, naked-eye stargazing with local tribal interpretations, secret royal suppers and hot air balloon rides for the guests.

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The Den lastly came to life at night when the music lovers broke into a party mood, they drank, talked, laughed and danced till they dropped.

 

 

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