Amrit Gurung's Nepathya will be the first Nepali band to perform at the Wembley Arena in London next month
JAM PACKED : Nepathya performs at Sydney Town Hall in 2012 as part of their Australia Tour
Twenty years after it came together and became a household word in the country through its distinctive Nepali folk rock, Nepathya is travelling to Britain for a high-profile gig on 3 August at the Wembley Arena.
For founder, frontman, vocalist, and lyricist Amrit Gurung, it has been a long journey from the backwaters of his village in Kaski, through experimenting with guitars and flutes in college in Kathmandu, travelling mostly on foot through most of Nepal’s 75 districts, to be the most recognised face and voice of modern Nepali music.
Many band members have come and gone in the last two decades, but Amrit has stayed behind in Nepal and still leads Nepathya. In those years, the country has been through conflict and political turmoil, but Gurung has used the medium of music through travelling concerts to spread the message of peace and education.
During the height of the conflict, Nepathya toured the country across land-mined highways, past scenes of recent ambushes, performing at concerts. Gurung is a modern-day rock gandarba and believes that Nepal can only get ahead with better education and the underlying theme of all his concerts is to get children to school.
But lately, he has been troubled by Nepal’s aimless politics and the parties stoking non-existent ethnic tensions to expand their vote banks. He makes no efforts to hide his distrust of federalism based on identity in a culturally diverse country and says it will lead to the fragmentation of the Nepali nation. “I am a Nepali first and then I am a Gurung,” he says. “It is the Nepali language that binds us and it is this language that I have put to music with a Nepali heartbeat.”
It is this message of unity that he is taking to London next month, not just the unity of Nepal but also the coming together in peace of humankind across national frontiers. The Wembley Arena is a much sought after venue for international bands like U2, The Who, Bob Dylan, and Cliff Richards and Santana will be performing there next week.
“It is a great honour for Nepal and for Nepathya that we will be at the Wembley Arena, it will allow Nepalis in the UK to also feel proud about their home country,” says Kiran Shrestha of nepa~laya, Nepathya’s management company that is organising the concert with Subsonic Routes and Parcha Productions.
The capacity of the venue is 5-12,000 and tickets are being sold for £28.25, through ticketmaster.com. Nepalis from across Britain, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, and even the United States are travelling to London to attend.
Gurung himself is very excited about the UK concert and says it is an honour to be performing in a country that has such a reputation for being the cradle of pop and rock. “It is a dream to be at the centre of world music and to take the message of unity and to bring people together,” admits Gurung, who will be performing up to 25 of his hit songs.
Indeed, those sentiments are right out of one of Gurung’s most popular songs from his album Aina Jhyal: “Joga le hunchha bheta, maya le hunchha samjhana.”
Nepathya Australia Tour 2012 (Melbourne)
Nepathya Australia Tour 2012 (Sydney)
Watch video of Nepathya's Sa Karnali
Amrit Gurung gets candid
Wembley Arena, London,
Sat 3 Aug 2013, 19:30