Merasi: Master Musicians of Rajasthan
Thursday, September 22
Doors at 7pm / Show at 8pm
$12 / $8 Students
Listen as musicians direct from Folk Arts Rajasthan recite oral histories of Indian kings, share insights into their cultural heritage, and bring to life the stories seen in Indian Miniature paintings.
Travel to the fabled caravan routes of desert India with this MERASI troupe. Their infectious rhythms spring from thirty-eight generations of musicians who performed for Rajput maharajas and at temple festivals, where Muslim musicians, Hindu devotion, and rich desert culture blended with invigorating results.
New York-based Folk Arts Rajasthan (FAR) and India-based Lok Kala Sagar Sansthan (LKSS) are two non-profits joined together by a shared vision of a thriving and just future for the Merasi community of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan.
Carrying a unique musical legacy of over 38 generations, the Merasi endure the burden of a caste system labeled as “Manganiyaar,” meaning “beggar.” Defiled by touching the skins of dead animals on their instruments, they are scorned as “untouchables.” Most live in poverty and are denied access to education, healthcare, and political representation. Despite daily prejudices, they persist in their roles as oral genealogists, storytellers, and musicians.