Rahis Bharti is making Rajasthani folk music popular

In an interview to Changing Tomorrow during his recent visit to Jaipur, Rahis Bharti, talked about his recognition by UNESCO as the ‘Cultural Ambassadors of Rajasthan’ in 2019

P Srinivasan I [email protected]

Rahis Bharti, since childhood had a great liking for folk music of Rajasthan as it was in his blood, as he is descendant of more than seven generations of royal court Rajasthani musicians. He hails from Dhod village in Sikar district of Rajasthan and dreamt of introducing Rajasthani folk music to the entire world and today his dream has translated into a proud success story.

How did you go to France?

I got an invitation to perform in France and in the year 2000, I was born in a poor, simple and traditional family and went there borrowing money on a hefty interest rate from a moneylender. My family was poor and just carried Rs 50 in my pocket as the rest of the money was spent on buying air tickets etc.

Share your experience in France.

There I had to struggle a lot. After my programme there, I was on the roads. My news was published in some newspapers there and local musicians there helped me to perform and I got some money and then I formed my own band named ‘Dhoad Band’. Then I did not look back and I have performed over 2500 concerts and shows in more than 110 countries. So far I have provided international platforms to around 700 local artists from Rajasthan and empowering them for the last 20 years.

Did you perform during COVID-19?

Yes, during the COVID-19 pandemic our band played online concerts for doctors and nurses to get out of stress and motivate them; pop rock star of France Mathieu Chedid played with Dhoad concert which was witnessed by more than 6 lakh people of France; Dhoad played for all Non-Resident Rajasthanis around the globe for USA, Portugal, UK, Australia, Dubai, Rajasthan Foundation and Rajasthan Association UK. The pandemic had shaken the entire world and I tried to contribute a little from my side and gave financial support to hundreds of local artists and distributed food packets in small villages and cities across Rajasthan during the pandemic.

Any plans for live concerts?

If the situation of COVID-19 improves, then this summer Dhoad Band will be performing live in Kaustinen Folk Festival in Finland, Festival Festim in Portugal, Sziget festival Budapest – Hungary, Austria, Germany and in different cities of France and Spain.

Is a book being written on you?

Ya, my journey from a small village of Rajasthan to the international platform impressed a Frenchman, Martine le Coz, who decided to write a book on my life. The book titled ‘Rajasthan’s heartbeat Rahis Bharti’ is written in French and will be out soon this year. Special place has been given to Rajasthan’s culture and monuments in this 200-page book. The book written in French will be translated into other languages.

What made you popularize Rajasthani folk across the globe?

Rajasthan has so much to offer in the field of folk music and folk dance. My objective is to bring local artists and dance forms of Rajasthan at the international platform and get them recognition. I want to preserve the traditional folk music and popularize it worldwide and want to see that the Rajasthan music and dance is appreciated all over the world. I have given the opportunity to more than700 local artists from Rajasthan at the international level. My family has not only contributed to the field of folk music, but also in empowering local artists. Today millions of people worldwide like the Rajasthani music.

Achievements you would like to share.

I have won many awards and got much recognition. My achievements include recognition by UNESCO as ‘the Cultural Ambassadors of Rajasthan’ in Japan in 2019 for the outstanding contribution towards building bridges of friendship between India and other countries. Dhoad has performed for the Welcoming Ceremony of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi in Paris in 2015 and in Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebration in London, Former President of India APJ Kalam Azad during his visit in Jaipur 2012 at the Science Park. Dhoad’s performance in Disneyland Paris was witnessed by more than 5 million people. Performed for President and Prime Minister of France, President of Croatia and in the private birthday party of Mick Jagger, the lead vocalist of the legendary rock band ‘The Rolling Stones’.

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