Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pushkar round-up, straight from the desert

Now in Jaisalmer, surrounded by the desert. The bus ride was pretty nice and we even saw some sand dunes. The desert here however doesn't have much sand dunes as you normally would expect. The landscape is quite flat, with sandy and rocky ground where low vegetation grows in the shape of various bushes and small trees. Desert shrub. We arrived in the evening but can see the fort that is lit up in yellow light. It looks nice enough, more pictureque and cute as it lacks the impressive size and exterior of all the other forts in Bundi, Chittor and Jodhpur. We probably won't stay long here and it all depends whether we can find musicians tomorrow. The visit to Barnawa in a few days is way more promising and it feels like we're duly filling our time here. We might get surprised....

Since we have done most of our recordings in/around Pushkar and during the mela throughout November, why not a quick round-up of things visual and some audio clips?

Side road tattooing at the mela, squatted on the ground, with a pen attached to a little battery accu that gave sparks. Just alcohol was put on the arm and no change of needle. Why sterilize huh? All the customers were kids, the youngest ones being two 12 year-old girls. Whom by the way already had faded tattoos from last year and back to get them done over. Hardcore.

The broader folk dance programme of the mela had some amazing dances from the states of Orissa, Haryana, Maharastra, Madya Pradesh and Gujarat. The dance of the sea people from Gujarat stood out by a mile through the tribal drum sounds and the heavy African feel that it breathed in every way. It was said that the dance was 750 years old and from a Gujarati tribe that migrated from inland to the sea -which perhaps excludes that this tribe could have come from Africa, if one has doubts- We still wonder though.... Check out this clip!

Uploaded by ARTISJOK

Some audio clips from the mela, taken at the dance programme and the Rajasthani folk prgramme.

Gujarati dance with sticks, where males and females were dancing around each other, hitting their sticks together in different patterns.

Gujarati stick dance (excerpt)

Haryana dance, which is a sort of Punjabi dance. Haryana shares the same culture as Punjab except that they speak Hindi as the only difference.

Haryana dance (excerpt)

Maharastra dance, the state of the cities Mumbai and Pune, which was very vivid with a lot of costumed dancers dressed up as warriors, lions and tigers. The polyphonic beats are pretty special as it sounds like an effect from a sampler, but it was all played on acoustic instruments.

Maharastra costume dance (excerpt)

The Desert Symphony. An orchestra that was made out of many different Rajasthani musicians from the west of the state of the Jaisalmer and Barmer districts. It began with an amazing thrift of morchang (jew's harp) that sounded like acoustic acid!

Desert Symphony, morchang intro (excerpt)

During the mela we met Neire, a mad and sincerely nice fellow Belgian from the west of Flandria (Diksmui' jong!), travelling alone. He had just come from several months hopping around in Pakistan (some good stories about the northwest region) and at the mela and Jaisalmer he made excellent photo's that he liked to share with us..and likewise with you all below! Other eyes scour for different beauty.

Ok, we'll have some radio silence for a week now, -and not really thinking about christmas, that is-

ek~ Gypsykids

do~ Making spicey chutney

tin~ Going for the camera

chaar~ Musulman takin it chanti

paanch~ Never to small for a Biri

cheh~ Inbetween the raves

saat~ Hup met 't hooi

aat~ Ooooh

nau, Morchangplayer from Jaiselmer busstation.

das, Traditionnel Indian shitting @ sunset!

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