Salutation songs, love songs, wedding songs, separation songs, songs for the birth of a child, songs for the rainy season, songs of friendship, songs that express love for a guru or teacher, devotional songs and songs for folk deities––the folk music of Rajasthan is rich in songs. And this album is rich in women!
Under the curatorial direction of Vinod Joshi, there has been created a unique collection of traditional songs by female voices from Rajasthan, which reflects current artistic developments and musical trends from the region’s diverse communities. For Folk Women of Rajasthan, female musicians opened their doors, sang, made music and thereby told us about their everyday life, their traditions, their worries and their hopes.
Travel diary from Nityka Yadav and Nataly Bleuel
The first time she was seen singing was when she was six years old. She sat next to her father, who played the harmonium, and probably, it has been a while now, she also wore a red cloth, squatting on the floor with her legs crossed. Which often lies like a light tent over Raju Bhopa. And under it, it can seem, a face rises, round, dark and shining like a moon over Rajasthan.
Vinod Joshi himself comes from the village, but made it to the capital Jaipur to study anthropology. And loves music and freedom, which is the only way to explain why the female musicians like Raju so gratefully refer to him as Vinod Joshi Ji as if he had saved them.
And in some ways he has. It was after the third week of isolation in the first phase of the pandemic that he stood on the roof of his house in Jaipur, in the dark of the night, thinking, we won’t overcome this. The neighbours are dying off. My daughters can’t go to university anymore. The world is going to end. And how are the destitute musicians out in the countryside supposed to survive if they can’t earn a rupee?
That’s how the campaign with the care packages began. They packed for 400 musicians’ families: flour, oil, cereal flakes, salt, 10 kilos, worth 1000 rupees. That is 12 euros. Plus 2500 rupees a month for the old sick. Sponsored by the foundation, actively supported by his daughters who helped him on the computer, and the prime minister, when he heard about it, added the equivalent of 60 euros. They brought 1486 musicians through Corona with these gestures and with an open ear. For a year and a half, Vinod says, they were alone, at home, without music, and couldn’t get out. But they called him and cried. And Vinod Joshi Ji, who felt like crying himself, on his roof in the dark, tried to comfort them, but above all to motivate them. Remember, he said, the sun will rise again!
And so he gradually began to receive not only phone calls. But video clips. And there the women sang to him, and danced and played music. And so the moon rose again on the edge of the villages and steppes of Rajasthan, from Raju and the Bhopa.