Preserving a musical heritage in Jaisalmer

Published by Community Manager on 20 February 2019

Preserving a musical heritage in Jaisalmer

Jaisalmer – a land of great culture, heritage, food and music. Yes, music! And we took it upon ourselves to restore, develop and sustain some of the music of that region.

When it’s about experiencing the rich culture of our country, you will readily agree that Rajasthan gets the most visits for its rich and diverse performing art and craft forms. Different communities practice different forms, reflecting their traditions and culture. The Langa and Mangniyar musicians are major attractions in the western part of Rajasthan covering districts of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer.

Spotting the Talent

Folk music and dance are a regular feature at our resort in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. In keeping with our commitment towards corporate social responsibility, all our resorts have ESOP or Employee Social Options that focus on the development of local communities. It was the ESOP team at our Jaisalmer resort that spotted the rich musical heritage of local artists at Gunsar, striving for survival.

Several artists earn their livelihood by performing at hotels, palaces and resorts, however, for the artists in the villages, it is often difficult to sustain a livelihood only through their art form.

Our team came across a local music school being run without any charges, and this served as a good standpoint to assess the situation. The NGO ‘Gunsar Lok Sangeet Sansthan’ has been running a free school for music for the children of Langa and Mangniyar communities, since a decade. After school hours, children are taught singing and playing instruments by the senior singers. There is also an effort towards safeguarding instruments and songs for posterity.

Our team decided to partner the NGO with the objective of setting up a music school in Jaisalmer for underprivileged children and youth. For Club Mahindra Jaisalmer, this has been the perfect partnership, with a rich exchange of data, current scenario and the road ahead in preserving the musical heritage of the region.

It was interesting to note that these talented folk artists have never been to any school or university for generations. All they had was the rhythm of the music passed on from generations, and a collection of their folk songs.

A Little History

The Langas sing Sufiyana Kalams of various noted poets as well as Rajasthani and Punjabi folk songs which mainly revolve around the lives of Rajas and Maharajas. The love story of Heer Ranjha, Shashi Bani is often foretold in these songs. They use instruments such as Sindhi Sarangi, Algosa, Matka, Khartal, Harmonium and Morchang.

The Mangniyar sing Rajasthani and Marwar Lok Sangeet or folk songs and Sufiyana Kalams. The folk songs revolve around Rajas and Maharajas, daily lifestyle, gods and goddesses and several immortal love stories. Mangniyar also sing traditional songs such as Hichki or Gorbandh.

The Assessment

Our team assessed the need to provide training to the artists based on their skill level. For Grade A artists, a collaboration and exchange with other instrumentalists and musicians from National and International level, was needed along with workshops. Whereas expert training on the instruments and classical music would greatly help Grade B artists.

Going a Step Ahead

In addition, the school will also follow the Guru Shishya Parampara. It will promote gender equality, girl education and discourage child marriage. Value education and life skills will be imparted, along with alternate means of livelihood.

Our initiatives for the Music School are deeply rooted in the Mahindra Rise Philosophy - which makes it imperative that as we rise we need to take others along with us. For us who aim to create a lifetime of magical holidays for families from all over, at all our resorts, we are obligated to ensure that the community around the vicinity of our resorts also thrives.

Preserving a musical heritage of our country is not just our social responsibility, it is an honour and privilege for us to play an active role in it.

In case you wish to visit Gunsar, or know more about our activities, do ask on the forum on our Community page .