Back in the late ’90s, I saw a group called Musafir, who came out with two albums at that time, the first of which was called the Gypsies of Rajasthan. Musafir also did a superb performance with Natacha Atlas and Transglobal Underground in the song “Ali Mullah” (in the album Rejoice Rejoice) . Unfortunately, it’s impossible to find good video footage of Musafir (there’s video footage out there, but it’s really not very good). However, there are a number of other people doing similar things, as well as different groups spun off from that one. Rajasthani gypsy music seems to have gained in popularity in the world music scene, and deservedly so. And so has the great Rajasthani dancing.
When I saw Musafir, they featured Queen Harish, also known as the “Dancing, Whirling Desert Drag Queen.” And he – or she – is a quite a good performer:
A group called Banjara has been making the rounds these days who also call themselves the Gypsies of Rajasthan. I don’t know if they are related at all to Musafir or appeared on their CD. However, the song in the following video was featured on that CD, and I would not be surprised to learn that both versions involved some of the same people:
And there’s a woman out there named Gulabi Sapera who is known as the “Gypsy Queen of Rajasthan.” She’s teamed up with Titi Robin, a European who draws upon the music of various gypsy cultures from around the world. They appear in this fantastic video of a “rehearsal of the Virasat festival in Jaipur”: