10 Songs, 48 Minutes


About Musafir

Situated in northwestern India is the state of Rajasthan (which literally means "the land of kings"). Home to over 44 million people, Rajasthan's most well-known geographical feature is the vast Thar desert, while its most well-known musical ensemble is Musafir. Musafir is made up of 11 performers. They perform music that is both scared and profane, and usually delve into traditional Qawwali, Hindustani, and Roma (gypsy) songs. Singing that borders on the ecstatic takes center stage in many of their tunes. Establishing the sonic foundation for these vocals are the sounds of many instruments. They include the dhol (a barrel drum that is played with sticks), the aloogoza (a double flute), the harmonium (a compact pump keyboard originally introduced by Western missionaries), the dholak (a wooden drum with two heads), the kartals (wooden clappers), the pungi (a large reed flute), and the saarangi (a bowed lute that has both melodic and sympathetic strings). The makeup of Musafir reflects the rich cultural tapestry that exists in Rajasthan, a region that is home to Muslims, Hindus, and Sufis (among others). For example, two dancers in Musafir are Saperas, the so-called nomadic "Gypsies of Rajathan," while four of the musicians are Muslim Langas. Musafir's other members include Muslim Manghaniyars, Hindus, and a classically trained Hindustani singer. This diversity is reflected in the unique fusion of sounds that the band as a whole is able to generate. Musafir is also known for giving impressive live shows. For over five years, the members of Musafir -- a word which literally means trip, travel, or pilgrimage -- have dedicated themselves to a demanding international touring schedule that has included more than 100 performances per year on four continents and in 30 countries. These concerts allow the band to showcase individual soloists and the propulsive rhythms that make their music so danceable. As energetic as their live music is, Musafir doesn't limit its shows to sound alone. It is not unusual for the band to collaborate with acrobats, contortionists, and dancers. ~ John Vallier



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