Review: The Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan St George's 7/10 by Louis Emanuel
ON Sunday evening, St George's welcomed a family of Indian gypsies to its hall. The Dhoad Gypsies of Rajasthan – self-professed "undisputed cultural ambassadors" of their region – took to the stage after a busy 10 years in the business.
The family-of-four have a celebrated musical heritage spanning seven generations and since rising to international recognition a decade ago. they have toured the globe. As Rahis Bharti, one of the three brothers and creator of the group proudly proclaimed to a half-full hall, the band have played more than 1,000 gigs in 80 countries – including playing in front of the French and Indian presidents and, more importantly it seemed to him, Mick Jagger.
Despite their whirlwind time at the top there was no sign of fatigue as the six world-class musicians delivered their rich repertoire of traditional Rajasthani folk music with force.
The group passionately and tirelessly ran through their famous sweeping scales and vocals accompanied by performances from a traditional Rajasthani dancer dressed in intensely bright traditional clothing. The two-hour gig induced the audience into a trance-like state watching the rhythmic speed of the group's harmonic vocals.
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But thankfully the prolonged, almost tribal bellowing, was interrupted by crowd-pleasing performances from the band's stuntman, balancing jugs on his head and walking on nails as the music played on.
The audience were snapped out of their reverie with a timely bit of participation, taking the lead from Rahis, the most recognised of all the family.
With an average age of those attending not below half a century, it was a slow but healthy dose of movement before the gig drew to a close with one final vibrant dance from the professionals. They joined together at the front of the stage away from their microphones for one last taste of their unique scat- like singing – bringing the hall to its feet. Those who attended applauded with gratitude and respect but it felt like the band deserved more than half the capacity of the hall.