Gig Review by John Kennedy / Gig Photography by Wayne Fox

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Now then, we’re talking serious turbans here! Like it was the equivalent of Ascot Day in the pleasure dome of Kubla Khan. Tabla player, compare and artistic director, Rahis Bharti (with his dad soloing the opening number) led us on an exotic evening’s journey across the rich cultural landscapes of native Rajasthan in north-west India. Stories of sumptuous Maharajahs, simple village life, the aromatic spice-trains of richly dressed camels, heroic romances and the diaspora of the Dhoad Gypsies to Spain were told through traditional songs set against a background of tablas, dhol, harmonium and the captivating precursors of the Flamenco castanets. The call and response instrumental/vocal dialogues were dazzlingly intricate and witty.

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Dressed in stunning national costumes this sparkling bazar of troubadours, dancers and fakirs hypnotised the audience and wrapped them in silken tapestries of imaginary wonder. Fusions of Sufi, Hindu and even Bollywood styles came to a climax with the mesmeric, swirling dances from a teenage princess so enchanting t’was though she had been magic-carpet flown from an Arabian Nights’ fantasia. Many will have come away boggled of mind as to how that unassuming fakir in his golden gown managed to pirouette with a clay pitcher of water balanced on his head – correction – with the pitcher balanced on three highball glasses whilst standing on a bed of nails. Actually, a real flying carpet would’ve been an anti-climax. It all encore concluded with what we assumed was the Rajasthan equivalent of a hands-high Bhangra Pogo. A magical night and a miracle of rare device.

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan

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