The Rajasthan International Folk Festival & The Spree..

In September I'll be heading out to Rajasthan for this incredible project. 


The Spree twins with one of India’s most prestigious festivals, the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), in a celebration of friendship and connections. 

To celebrate the close links between both festival cities and their cloth-making and textiles heritage – and, indeed, the Paisley Pattern itself – two ‘tapestries’ will be curated, one musical and the other digital. 

A musical collaboration will weave together traditional music from India and Scotland to create an hour -long performance, curated in Jodhpur and performed at the opening concerts of both the RIFF (6 October) and the Spree (13 October). 

Ross Ainslie, whose accolades include being one half of the 2017 BBC 2 Folk Duo of the Year, Ross Ainslie and Ali Hutton, is a founding member of folk super-group  Treacherous Orchestra and regularly performs with Salsa Celtica and many others. He is a master of whistles and pipes…and collaborations. 

Ross will be journeying to Rajasthan with Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) and Angus Lyon. 

No stranger to collaborations himself, Blue Rose Code’s second album, The Ballads Of Peckham Rye, was nominated for the Scottish Album Of The Year Award 2015 and featured a roll-call  of Danny Thompson, Karine Polwart, John Wetton, Aidan O’Rourke and Kathryn Williams.  Angus Lyon is a musician, producer and composer and a member of Blazin’ Fiddles and The Halton Quartet. Angus has recorded and performed alongside Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Paul McCartney, Bobby McFerrin, Craig Armstrong, Blue Rose Code, Eliza Carthy, Bella Hardy and many more. He is currently recording and producing music from his studio, Gran’s House. 

They will be joined by Smita Bellur, Asin Khan Langa and Sawai Khan. 

Smita is India’s first female Hindustani vocalist to have been accepted into a lineage of traditional qawaals (Sufi/ Islamic mystic singers). Singing in Hindi, Urdu, Kannada and Punjabi, she has connected with audiences across the globe with her performances bringing a profound humanity and an easy access to the spiritual poetry of the sub-Continent – Nirguni, Bhakti, Sufi, Veerashaiva and Haridasa traditions dating back to the 12th century. 

Asin Khan is hailed as a virtuoso vocalist of the Sindhi Sarangi , combining  a rare musical artistry with a vast repertoire of  traditional songs and Sufi poetry.  Asin comes from a lineage of amazing musicians in a tradition spanning generations and is a skilled collaborator having worked with He has been performing and collaborating for years, having worked Kavitha Krishnamurthy and L. Subramaniam, Jeff Lang (Australia), the Brian Molley Quartet (Scotland) and numerous other artists from India and overseas. 

Sawai Khan is a young master of the percussion instruments of the Manganiyar, from deep in the deserts of western Rajasthan. Playing  Morchag, Dhol, Dholak, , Bhapang and Khartal,  he trained under the legendary Sakar Khan and has collaborated with with Grammy winner Wouter Kellerman and Grammy nominee Yossi Fine amongst others.