Postcard: Desert Violin

019 Desert Violin (Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India)

Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India (25th December 2013)

As we were strolling through the by lanes of desert town Jaisalmer, some soothing Rajasthani folk tunes wafted out from nearby, something which we had heard in other parts of Rajasthan also. We found the source of music to be a middle-aged turbaned man, presumably from the desert, playing a string instrument which looked so much like a violin. This local fiddle called Rawanhathha, was an instrument made simply with a coconut shell and bamboo. But it was amazing how this man, with his face etched in concentration and his hand moving the bow effortlessly on the strings, was creating such beautiful sounds with such a simple instrument. Occasionally, he would pause to entertain customers interested in buying his CDs. Unknown to popular culture, the vast and barren expanse of the Thar Desert was home to a very rich musical culture also, and it was heartening that these musicians were now trying to get their music to reach a wider audience.

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