'Fusion music should happen'

Manganiyar Ghazi Khan is a veteran from the community of Manganiyar singers of Rajasthan, which is renowned for its folk music. But he believes he is still learning. “Since it’s an oral tradition, too much is definitely too less. There is no written tradition, so we all are learning day after day,” says Khan referring to their songs which are passed on from generation to generation as a form of oral history of the desert. 

Belonging to the Barna district in Rajasthan, Khan has been a part of desert symphonies that he says bring out the true colours of his state. “I believe lok sangeet highlights the state and desert symphonies are one such delight to watch and equally hard to perform with respect to the instruments,” says the 45-year-old. 

Interestingly, while this form of folk music has three main instruments — kamaicha, khartaal and dholak, now it also includes shehnai, matka, dhol, dholak, harmonium and flute, to name a few. Khan avers, “Now we use 15-20 instruments and that is itself a very unique aspect.”

He also mentions how folk music is now adaptive to fusion genre. “Though our community has not been traditionally receptive to fusion, we are seeing the rise of fusion as the younger generation seems willing to experiment. In fact, fusion music should happen. I want artistes from Rajasthan to show their talent to the world so that the state also becomes visible through their music and efforts,” he tells Metrolife, citing the example of legendary singer Allah Jilai Bai’s track Kesariya Balam Padharo Mare Desh  which has been fused with many popular renditions. 

Meanwhile, Khan who has travelled to many countries including Iran and France says that performing in his hometown brings him satisfaction. “I like performing here because it is the love of my own people that is foremost,” says Khan on his recent performance at the Jaisalmer Desert Festival: Rajasthan Unplugged.   

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