Gypsy and Irish Traveller Work / Travel

BESTIVAL with the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band and Circus

When I heard that I had the chance to photograph the Jaipur Kawa Brass Band at Bestival I grabbed it with the one hand that wasn’t busy reaching for my camera.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the gypsy band from Rajasthan have graced the majority of England’s (indeed Europe’s) festivals from Glastonbury to WOMAD with infectious music for over 10 years. Led by Hameed Khan Kawa, named a ‘jazz fusion specialist’ by The National Geographic, the ‘Jaipur Kawa Brass Band has firmly established itself on the international music scene.’

I had just got back from Italy so I hurriedly booked my train and ferry tickets packed my equipment and set out for Bestival, Isle of Wight…

From the moment I jumped onto their bus the band were instantly welcoming and genuine, helping me with my wrist bands and chatting over festival food. I also realised that the Jaipur circus were also there and went to my tent very excited for the next day.

Here is the weekend in photographs. All the beautiful smiles you will see are very real, they hardly left their faces the whole four days. A re-awakenment to interacting with people coming from London where people don’t talk as much, don’t ‘wake each other up in the middle of the night for tea’ as one band member informed me was quite a normal practice back home…

Bus ride on the way there.

Time to wake up…a bit of sleep before the circus start creating their stage.

The circus…

“And so the evil mask is put on the beautiful girl” storytelling all the way from Rajasthan.

Spinning wheels balanced…well, everywhere!

Beautiful dancing…

First Pavan fits through this tiny silver hoop then he manages to get himself and Manu through it…if this was an illusion I didn’t see it. Some serious body bending!
The same hoop to tightrope walk. This was the first time he had performed this trick…I saw him getting lessons earlier on in the day!

Manu did this trick where he balanced on top of a wooden pole (this pole strapped to his father’s waist I have to add) and spun round on top…!

The lovely gypsy dancers Sonja and Chandra.

And the band played wonderfully on every stage and space Bestival gave to them…

Coming and dancing among the audience.

In Club Dada.

Govinda who performed alongside the band swallowing swords, juggling with his elbows, and attaching 5 kilos to his eyelid…wow…

People come to dance with the band as they play in between performances up and down the festival fields.

Food break.

Food break.

Relaxing backstage before the performance…


I want to join in!

Impromptu performance at the end of the day.

I hope to see you again soon my friends.

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