The World Scared Spirit Festival 2018
The Jaswant Thada makes for a beautiful venue for the sunset performance
By Natascha Shah
The 11th Edition of the World Sacred Spirit Festival recently took place in Jodhpur. Undoubtedly, one of the most elegant music festivals in the world, it takes place in the prestigious sites of the Mehrangarh Fort and takes one on a unique musical journey.
Organised by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust, this festival enchants the music aficionados of In-dia and the world, with the most beautiful of sacred traditions from the Orient, the East and Africa. WSSF offered an impressive line-up of artists in a stunning royal setting.
The performances begin early morning, at the Jaswant Thada, a cenotaph built in the memory of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II by his son. The stage is set by the lake where ducks swim happily while the melodies fill the air. The intricately carved gazebos of the mausoleum, the garden, the wall of the fort in a distance, all form the perfect backdrop and emit a warm glow when the rays of the sun fall on them.
It is easy to lose sense of time and space, while enjoying a performance in such a set up. Specially when the soul stirring voice of artists like Ariana Vafadari (Turkey)(watch video)who presented ancient Zoroastrian hymns reimagined in a jazz-operatic styleor the melody created from water bowls by Milind Tulankar reach your ears. It travels all the way to your heart and settles there for-ever.
The performances then shift to the fort and continue till the afternoon, breaking only for a few hours, they resume at sunset.
The 500 years old fort, also, serves as the most magnificent location for such an event, specially at night. The moon shines upon the gorgeous structure and adds to its strangely haunting beauty. To be walking around, eating, drinking and enjoying such great music in one of the biggest forts in India is a unique experience.
The festival is a great way to connect with like-minded people from around the world and learn about cultures from different corners of the globe. One of my favourite performances from this year was that of Zewditou Yohannes from Ethiopia, presenting the The Art of Azmari poetry and dance (watch video). An Azmari is a singer, poet, bard, and dancer, all at once, from a young ado-lescent age, they stride across the cities and narrate the life of yesterday and today. Even though I didn't understand the words, but the energy and the movements were amazing, and it made me feel as if I was inside an Ethiopian folk tale. (click here for video)
During the afternoon, one can take a walk through the fort and visit the museum. One can head out to the city and enjoy some local dishes, followed by shopping and walking around the web of lanes around the old step-well (Toorji ka Jhalra). Click here to find out what else do to and where to stay.
All in all, it is the perfect weekend escape for those who enjoy music, art and culture.
To know more about World Sacred Spirit Festival visit- http://worldsacredspiritfestival.org/
Ariana Vafadari enchants with her soulful performance