Sanu Raj Maharjan's hands were just a blur as they danced deftly between the 33 madals that make up his kit during a performance last Sunday evening at Thamel's Tridevi Mandir. The Kathmandu native displayed finesse, musical knowledge and incredible prowess. Maharjan has performed in countless festivals and concerts in Nepal and abroad,including the 2001 International Hand Drum Folklore Festival in Taiwan,where he won the best drummer award. He also works as a music teacher, passing his craft on to hundreds of students. Maharjan's performance was part of a show organised by Global Village, which works to promote classical Nepali music.
Late last week, crowned and garlanded dancers in full-length robes whirled gracefully before a rapt crowd in the floodlit courtyard at Patan Darbar Square. The dancers were performing Kartik Nach, one of Kathmandu's most intricate dance traditions, which began during the reign of Siddhi Narsingh Malla, as thanksgiving to Kartikeya for protecting the Newar community. The dancers enact scenes from the life of Kartikeya and other deities. The Narshingh Avatar dance, one of the most popular, depicts the moment when Narshingh, an incarnation of Visnhu, kills the demon king Hiranyakashipu with his bare hands. The recitals, which by the time of Siddhi's grandson Yog Narendra Malla, had become heady month-long celebrations, now only run for about a week due to financial constraints.