They say only true romantics understand gazals, slow sentimental songs that talk of lovers' eye lashes, broken hearts and starry nights. These cold winter evenings in a hidden corner in Chabahil you will hear the melancholy melodies of Nepali and Hindi gazals of legends like the late Narayan Gopal, Amber Gurung, and Jagjit Singh wafting into the alleyway.
No, it's not a gazal restaurant we are about to visit. It is the home of Sailesh and Sailendra Singh. The brothers are not your usual gazal singers clad in Indian kurtas, and 24-year-old Sailesh and his two years sibling Sailendra are not celebrity names. Like most prodigies Sailesh's interest in music started at a very young age when his father noticed him playing percussion with any old cans, or even the dinner plate.
At the age of five he was presented with a madal, and his father remembers how the shopkeeper was so amazed at Sailesh's talent he gave a hefty discount on the instrument. Sailesh was further encouraged in school by his music teacher who sharpened his skills with a variety of drums. In 1987, his performance in front of the entire royal family with 12 different drums at the same time won him praises from the Queen Mother herself.
But as he approached adolescence, Sailesh found himself in trouble. His voice started to crack. Luckily, his deeper voice turned out not to be a disadvantage at all. And to give his songs the same melody as before, Sailesh started playing the harmonium and taught his brother to play the tabla.
By then both the brothers were ready to get into serious music. At the first nationwide Narayan Gopal Music Trust competition in 1987, Sailesh stood second, beating several hundred competitors from all over the country. Two years later he won the first prize in the same competition. "I saw Nepal had all this music talent, and it's only because they don't get the exposure and the opportunity that they remain hidden," says Sailesh. Last year his duet song with a female partner was nominated in the Hits FM Music Awards.
With their whole lives ahead of them, the sky is the limit for the talented Singh brothers. So, what plans? Sailesh answers solemnly: "We want to make our country proud of us."