It was a party full of surprises. Though Nepa~laya, agents for Nepathya, Aavas and Phatteman, had been planning to launch their new jazz band, Pulse, at the farewell surprise party on 24 June for Gert and Marianne Meinecke of the Danish Embassy, they outdid themselves. British Ambassador Keith Bloomfield, (pictured), took to the stage, sang three numbers (including Great Balls of Fire) that allowed Pulse to blast off from its launch pad in a blaze of publicity.
"It was a last minute thing that turned into an amazing performance, Keith sang like a rock star but he's not a part of Pulse, which is really an instrumental jazz band," explains Arpan Sharma of Nepa~laya.
Pulse's real forte is gypsy jazz including interpretations of Django Reinhardt and Angelo Debarre, some of the greatest guitarists of the genre. But Pulse also plays other forms of jazz, blues and fusion. In fact, it plans to adapt and improvise on Nepathya's folk tunes to fusion Nepali folk jazz. "But first, there's a lot of work to be done," cautions Hari Maharjan, lead guitarist.
Maharjan is familiar with the Kathmandu jazz terrain having performed with other bands before. Bassist Subin Shakya, drummer Nikhil Tuladhar and keyboardist Suraj Thapa are really looking forward to making it on the map as a band. They are aware of the growing following that jazz now has in the capital and are ready to dive off the deep end.
"It is more about how we perform as a band. We communicate through our music and our cues are made through such an understanding, jazz for us is all about free falling, it is an ocean of musical freedom," says Nikhil, rather lyrically.
Abha Eli Phoboo