If you are a music lover and keen to explore and experience the wealth of India’s folk music, you are in luck. With a customised tour organised by Sound Travels, you will get a chance to interact with musicians, understand the history of their art, spend a night at their houses and, of course, hear them play.
“Usually, travellers don’t get a chance to immerse themselves in music in the country, though there are many who want to. Our aim is to bridge this gap for people who want to understand and experience authentic music on their travels,” says Gopal Singh Chouhan, who along with Georgie Pope, a harpist and enthnomusicologist, conceived the idea of these tours in 2012.
Sound Travels currently offers four itineraries–three in Rajasthan and one in Assam. The Assam itinerary coincides with the Bihu festival, while two Rajasthan tours take place during Jodhpur RIFF, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival, a not-for-profit collaborative project involving the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and Jaipur Virasat Foundation. The final tour, South Rajasthan Loop, can be availed throughout the year. Sound Travels plans to start operations in West Bengal soon. “We prefer smaller groups for the tours, a maximum of 10 people. The two tours which are scheduled during Jodhpur RIFF are most popular among travellers,” says Chouhan, who is a researcher, cultural activist and event organiser. The tour participants are varied–from anthropologists to music teachers, industry people to researchers.
The 10-day tours in Rajasthan are extremely informative for eager learners, for whom spending quality time with folk artists is the main highlight. While their current clients are all international, Sound Travels is planning to come up with itineraries for domestic music lovers too. For more information, visit soundtravelsindia.com.