Nepali Times
Review
Musical revival



KIRAN PANDAY
KEEPING IT ALIVE: Eighty-five year old Lure Gandarba performs on the second day of Music of the Gods, held at the Patan Meuseum on Thursday.
Eighty-six year old Lure Gandarba (pictured) still recalls days when he carried his sarangi and travelled with his music. "We used to go from house to house and play our songs. We even carried messages from one village to another," reminisces Lure.

Lure was the oldest sarangi player in Music of the Gods: The Intangible Cultural Heritage of Nepal's Musical Caste, a concert organised last week by the UNESCO in collaboration with the Gandarba Culture and Arts Organisation, the Music Museum of Nepal and Creative Statements.

The three-day festival brought together over 35 artists from Gandarba, Badi and Damai communities from all over Nepal. The festival featured an exhibition of musical instruments, film screenings and the heart touching sounds of sarangis and madals.

"When it comes to music and dance, no collective group in Nepal can claim ascendancy over the Gandarba, Badi and Damai. This is a fact that must be acknowledged and celebrated," said Colin Kaiser, UNESCO representative in Nepal.

The artists were overwhelmed by the response and the respect they received. "The audience was very happy," says performer Nanda Ram Badi, "people even got up and danced."

The tradition is passed on from generation to generation in Gandarba communities. "We all have a sarangi in our homes," says Budhi Man Gandarba from Lamjung, "this instrument has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember."

But Gandarba, Badi and Damai communities are among the poorest in Nepal. Lack of money, and lack of respect, means many younger people now opt for alternative professions.

Kisan Gandarva, a 24-year old from Tanahu, plays in the streets of Thamel. "There are days when I earn Rs 2,000 and then there are days when I might earn nothing at all." There are about 50 others like him who have left home and now play for foreigners who seem to appreciate them more.

Paavan Mathema
See also: Modernising minstrels #378



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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