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”:
Musafir became Maharaja ( http://www.mymaharaja.com ), they feature in the film Gypsy Caravan which is released now, ( http://www.gypsycaravanmovie.com )
There is a new generation of creation happening now in Rajasthan, visit :
Queen Harish, thank you for commenting here!
Glad to have links to all your sites and the other two (very good) resources.
By the way, I had heard that a number of people in Musafir had moved on to become Maharaja. The one video out there is nice, hope there are more soon. (There is a little live YouTube footage, actually of Musafir, but, not very good…)
And still, it is a little confusing trying to figure out the changes in/from Musafir. (All of Maharaja were in Musafir but not all of Musafir, especially the earlier version(s), became Maharaja.)
Anway, I’ll get back to these links in the future. (The Colleena page especially has a whole lot of stuff to get to.)
Musafir started as a Gypsy roadshow concept for distribution in streettheater and worldmusic festivals worldwide, while MAharaja was made to explore sacred music/sufi in its marketing concept and was looking forward to a more “serious music” stage exposure.
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