HT Mint Lounge – Jaisalmer folk artistes go online to raise funds

About 36 folk artists will go live from Friday to perform for Indian and international audience online. Having had to struggle to eke out a living since the start of the pandemic, The Rhythm of Desert, a three day online festival starting from Jun 4, will showcase folk history of Jaisalmer and Barmer through performance by dancers and musicians, who will play diverse range of traditional instruments like the Sindhi sarangi and the double flute.

The festival aims to raise funds for folk artistes who are from Langa, Manganiyar, Bhatt, Bhopa, Kalbeliya communities who have been severely impacted the pandemic. Organised by Jaisalmer NGO Gunsar Lok Sangeet Sansthan and entrepreneur Tarun Kumar Bansal, co founder of Gurugram-based companies Sagacious IP and Safe-O-Kid, the proceeds from the event will be used in distributing groceries and Covid-19 sanitary kits to 2000 folk artist families living in villages in this region.

“If we have enough funds left after this, we would want to distribute medicines and create a covid isolation centre. At present, there is no way to isolate an infected family member, as their houses are really small,” says Bax Khan, who runs the NGO which teaches children in the community to make and learn the traditional musical instruments.

The event will feature some of the well-known folk artistes include state and central governments recognized singers like Anwar Khan Manganiar, Barkat Khan, Baisakhi Sapera, and those who have sung in Bollywood movies and popular singing competitions on TV such as Sarwar Khan, Sattar Khan, seven-year-old Thanu Khan among others.

Another feature of the event will be the jugalbandi between Morchange and Dholak by Firzon Gunsar, who has been part of music directors Salim Sulaiman’s international tour.

“These are immensely talented people. We thought why not ask them to use their skills to raise money,” says Bansal. If the event is successful, it can be an alternate source of income of these artists, he believes.

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