Musical evening to celebrate Rajasthani folk instrument kamaicha

New Delhi, Jan 7 (PTI) Kamaicha will be central to an upcoming musical evening here that will be aimed at celebrating the 17-string instrument from Rajasthan.

'Amarrass Nights', organised by Delhi-based Amarrass Society for Performing Arts, will be held at the 16th century Bagh-e-Azeem inside Sunder Nursery here on Saturday.

Organisers said the event will seek to encourage the use of the instrument in mainstream music.

Played by the Manganiar community from western Rajasthan, a kamaicha has a body carved out of a single piece of wood cut from a seasoned mango tree and covered with goat skin. It includes a round, hollowed-out belly that extends to the neck and the fingerboard.

'It was sometime in 2012, when we were recording the late Padma Shri Sakar Khan (father of Ghewar and Firoze Khan) - an ustad of the kamaicha, who had played with Yehudi Menhuin (American violinist) - that we discovered, to our shock that the only known kamaicha maker in India, Shankar Suthar, had given up making the instrument as there was no money in it and was instead making sofas in Pune.

'We called him back to Jaisalmer, placed an order for a few kamaicha and since then the Amarrass Society for Performing Arts has been able to get him to make almost a dozen of these instruments that, to us, is symbolic of the syncretic ethos and spirit of India,' said Ashutosh Sharma, co-founder of Amarrass Records.

Opening the evening on Saturday will be Ghewar and Firoze Khan, masters of kamaicha and dholak respectively, who will perform folk compositions to celebrate the beginning of a new year.

It will be followed by a unique sextet of young group of qawwals from Uttrakhand -- 'Rehmat-e-Nusrat', who will present their renditions of Sufiyana kalaams by Amir Khusrao, Meera Bai, Baba Bulleh Shah, and also pay tribute to Pakistani vocalist Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. PTI MAH TRS TRS