Nepali Times Asian Paints

Back to Main Page

A musical journey

Friday, September 17th, 2010
..................................................................................................................

It is hard to keep up with Amrit Gurung when he travels. Not just keeping up with his walk, but also with his thoughts which race even further ahead.Whether it is hiking up the Panchase Ridge near his ancestral home in Kaski, or taking the back roads to meet an elderly gandarba troubadour in the boondocks of Tanahu, or making the long climb to Bandipur from Damauli and getting there ahead of friends who drove up in a car, the rock star in a pony tail and camera is a familiar sight on Nepal’s trails.

Amrit says walking is his therapy, it makes him think, and clears his head for the music and lyrics of songs to come. It allows him to collect the original sounds and voices directly from the people who sing of sadness, of struggle and survival, nature and longing.

Or it is walking just for the sake of walking like we once did 15 km along the East-West Highway in Nawalparasi. Amritwanted to take a shortcut from Kawasoti through the jungle, and a good thing we didn’t because we would have found ourselves in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park at nightfall and would have had to sing to the tigers who wanted to eat us.

Amrit walks the talk, literally. And it is usually about things that uplift you, about the people he has met, the overwhelming resilience of the Nepali people and their desire for peace, their rejection of violence, their simple needs and how they can be overcome with just a little commitment, honesty and a sense of service on the part of the rulers.

Amrit is a man of few words when you meet him in Kathmandu. There is a lot here that he disagrees with, but his philosophy is “not to complain if you can’t do anything about it yourself”. Out on the trails, he listens a lot. Coming to a rocky escarpment in Syangja with the breathtaking sweep of the Annapurnas to the north, you finally see where his music is welling up from.

The music is rock, but the substrate is Nepali folk with the dhintang of the madal, the plaintive flute, and the familiar rhythms of the selo or rodi ghar songs. Amrit Gurung’s new album ‘Aina Jhyal’ that was released on Tuesday have many of the characteristics that made his earlier music so memorable.

Nepathya performing at the Dongguk University Auditorium in Seoul, South Korea on September 21.

It has been 20 years since Nepathya began its musical journey with its Nepali pop rock. In those years, band members have come and gone but Amrit has stayed. In those years, the country plunged into war, and Amrit decided to turn his talents to “music for peace” and took his concert tours right into the war zones. He was like a rock gainey taking songs of tolerance, non-violence and reconciliation right into the hinterland at a time when even journalists hesitated to go to the districts. The response was tremendous. I remember the entire audience in Hetauda in 2005 get up on its feet when Amrit broke into “Rato ra Chandra Surya” to sing along.

Aina Jhyal (the Newari word for ‘window’ entered the Nepali language lexicon long ago) carries on the grand tradition of Nepali folk music that deal with the everyday life in the villages, the struggle for daily survival, and ruminations of existence, all with the light lyrics of sometimes nonsense-rhyme.

“Joga le hunchha bheta, maya le hunchha samjhana”, “Mai mari jaunla jibana chhoto chha” and stanzas like that are folk wisdom at their deepest.

Performance at the Dongguk University Auditorium in Seoul.

Nepal used to be like an archipelago nation where valleys are separated by  rivers. All this is changing with roads and bridges, but the inaccessibility gave each region its distinctive take on the same songs.

The great divide is the Kali Gandaki. West of this great river that cuts Nepal in half, the folk songs seem to have a different root. Amrit has traveled nearly all of Nepal’s 75 districts, usually pen and paper in hand jotting down interesting lyrics and memorising tunes. He is the modern day Dharma Raj Thapa.

“The journey itself is the message,” Amrit says, “it makes exposure to new sounds and experiences possible, it relaxes your soul. You travel to get away from it all, but you also travel to arrive.”

Aaina Jhyal is available for online download at:
www.music.muncha.com/index.php/music/folk-rock/aaina-jhyal.html
All songs available at www.youtube.com/filmnepalaya

Go back to previous page          Bookmark and Share         



7 Responses to “A musical journey”

  1. TheXylazine on Says:

    “”ROCK GAINEY”” messenger of peace…..Amrit Gurung ….yes he is the man…

    “The journey itself is the message,” Amrit says, “it makes exposure to new sounds and experiences possible, it relaxes your soul. You travel to get away from it all, but you also travel to arrive.”

    Bravo….HE IS A NEPALI, A TRUE ONE………

    WARM WISHES n REGARDS FOR UR JOURNEY….


  2. Tweets that mention East West | Travel Blog by Kunda Dixit | Nepali Times | nepalitimes.com » Blog Archive » A musical journey -- Topsy.com on Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by महेश पौड्याल, Nepali Times. Nepali Times said: Kunda Dixit talks of his journeys with Amrit Gurung, the front man of Nepathya and the band's music http://fb.me/JlIhJcyA […]


  3. elif köksal on Says:

    beautiful… inspiring. amrit-ji and kunda-ji, you have made my day today!


  4. Himalayan folk rock « Asian Window on Says:

    […] Or it is walking just for the sake of walking like we once did 15 km along the East-West Highway in Nawalparasi. Amritwanted to take a shortcut from Kawasoti through the jungle, and a good thing we didn’t because we would have found ourselves in the buffer zone of the Chitwan National Park at nightfall and would have had to sing to the tigers who wanted to eat us. More: […]


  5. Manik on Says:

    Amrit is one who talks the talk and walks the walk… I have known him for few years through his music… a thorogh gentleman who love Nepal as much as he loves music… a brilliant person… Amrit, please keep it up and keep inspirin us all


  6. Devendra Pant on Says:

    “The journey itself is the message”– Oh, Yes! this is also the collective journey of our Nation. “Main mari jaunla jeebana chhoto chha”– also an eternal theme in the Land of The Braves! Otherwise, how could the best of the patriots sacrifice their lives fighting for the cause of our Motherland. In old days the ‘gainey’ used to sing these ‘jeebana gaatha’. Today, history bestowed that on the shoulders of our young Stars. Thanks to Amritji and likes, even in times of turmoil and chaos the inner voice of our people never extinguished. There comes a time when the power of voice will silence even the mightiest of the guns. Time to say farewell to arms; yet we need the warm embrace of mighty arms of our fellow compatriots. Oh healers, can you learn to heal thyself in the Land of The Buddha! This Land of ours will emerge even stronger in days to come. Let the “Aina jhyal” open new perspective in our Nation’s life!


  7. solar power on Says:

    Great site, I Will come back over the next couple of weeks and see what other little gems have been added.


Leave a Reply

 

himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | PRIVACY POLICY | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT