9-15 September 2016 #825

The hills are alive

From Western to Eastern classical and fusion, the second edition of Gharana Music Festival has it all
Smriti Basnet

Over the years, the small room of the world renowned cellist Franck Bernede’s house in Sitapaila has often come alive with the sound of music. Of late, the room has been hearing an ensemble of Cello, Madal and Esraj to recreate 16th century Spanish music in preparation for an encore of last year’s popular Gharana Music Festival in Kathmandu.

Having founded Singhini in 2001, Bernede has been working to promote and preserve Nepali artists abroad. He has performed in international festivals over the years, the size of the ensemble depending on the kind of music and venue. For this festival, the trio hopes to bridge the gap between Eastern musical instruments and its approach to music with that of 16th century Spanish and 17th century Italian music.

“There is a common root between the ragas that my fellow colleagues practise and renaissance music, and that is what I found interesting and wanted to introduce,” said the Baroque music specialist who will be performing with Santosh Prakash Shrestha and Bidur Rajkarnikar during the festival. 

Returning for its second edition after a successful event last year, the Gharana Music Festival will spot many other acclaimed musicians. “What we are trying to do is give people a deeper access inside different musical traditions. We’re in a place where music education is starting to grow significantly. Both music teachers and students want more genres available for study,” said David Linden of the Gharana Music Foundation that hopes to introduce musical traditions from all over the world including Nepal. 

The four-day event, 14-18 September, is going to see a host of chamber concerts and some live performances in the open. Like last year, the festival will have a series of workshops and master-classes enabling students to learn from experienced musicians and perform for an enthusiastic audience.

The master classes will be hosted by international and local artists like Bernede, Rupert Boyd, Neecia Majolly, Paul Cesarczyk and Salil Subedi on different instruments like the viola, violin, piano, guitar and even the didgeridoo. 

Linden hopes that the festival, like last year, is one-of-a-kind to not only entertain and educate but also to provide a platform to upcoming musicians. “Folk traditions, in a sense, are getting lost. Though there is education of Eastern classical here, the musicians do not get enough exposure,” said Linden who sees hope in bands like Night that fuse modern and traditional instruments to revive such folk traditions. 

The band which has experimented with sounds of instruments like the paluwa, tungna and piwancha has received accolades for its first album and recently concluded their trip to the Karnali region to research on the region’s endangered traditional instruments, will be coming out with a second album. 

“Our aim has always been to look for new sounds and explore the scope of any instrument that we use,” said Jason Sunwar of Night who feels such festivals are a step towards making the public aware about the performance art culture and encourage music appreciation.

The new western style classical Duende String Quartet will also feature in the festival. “The most important thing about Gharana is to be able to appreciate all forms of music through history from all over the world for their artistic worth and also their cultural worth.” said Linden who is looking forward to an enriching and lively second edition.

14 to 18 September, All Events at Hotel Yak & Yeti, Durbarmarg except 4 pm Saturday at Tangalwood, Tangal

General admission: Rs 700, General Admission Four-Concert package: Rs 2000, Students: Rs 250

Admission to Tangalwood concert, workshops and masterclasses: Free

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