Focus on Folk

Murra Lala Fafal of Kutch to perform in city, as a prelude to the 1st Blue Lotus Festival in Pushkar next month

Next month, the sands of Pushkar town in Ajmer district of Rajasthan will come alive with Indian folk music— Sufi, gypsy, tribal, devotional and spiritual — at the inaugural edition of the Blue Lotus Festival.

The initiative of De Kulture to preserve regional Indian music genres will bring together musicians from across the country.

As a prelude to the festival, the organisers are bringing Murra Lala Fafal, a folk singer from Kutch, to play at Blue Frog, Lower Parel, on Sunday.

Explaining how it all began, event manager and festival producer Berenika Rozanska says, "For the last three years, we've been promoting artistes abroad and organising concerts for them. We decided we needed a larger platform for their music. So this festival came up."

A singer from a rural family of Marwada Meghwals, the music and singing runs in Murra Lala Fafal's family. As is the norm in his community, he was initiated to music at a tender age by the family. His education began with Manjiras and singing, and by 16 he was proclaimed as exceptional.

"Fafal was discovered by us and worked with us after which he was invited to Coke Studio and other events," says Rozanska.

For the initial part of his career, Fafal performed only during festivals in Gujarat and eventually progressed to projects with Indian classical and Bollywood composers, making his music more famous. Singing in Kutchi, Fafal's songs speak of separation and reunion of lovers and draw inspiration from verses of Indian and Sufi poets which refer to religion and enlightenment, and the devotional and philosophical themes of Bhajans.

During performances, Fafal is accompanied by a musicians on several instruments including the santoor (a string instrument), ghada ghamela (a percussion instrument), jodiya pava (a local woodwind instrument) and manjiras.

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