The arena of songs from Nepal is diverse and getting more colorful every year. And with the changing landscapes of platforms for artists to showcase their talent, tons of artists are flooding every year on the internet with amazing musical content.
To be honest, the music scenario of Nepal was rich from its foundation. There was an era of the 2000s when artists like Anil Singh, Sugam Pokhrel ruled the spot on Call Kantipur, and today, due to emerging platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Noddle, amazing work by artists we’ve never heard of is just around the corner.
So, let’s look at the four songs you might want to give a listen to this week in case you aren’t well aware of them.
Kaha Chau by Yugal Gurung
Yugal is a Nepali singer-songwriter currently based in London. Kaha Chau is the third track from his album Afno Sansaar.
The singer’s lyricism and musicianship both shine through in this song, in which he has used metaphors to transform his lyrics into imaginative poetry. In the first verse “Birano rukha bhayera, fijauchu mero hanga”, the Yugal metaphors himself as a tree who has already shed his leaves. There isn’t much shade he can provide but is still willing to.
In the second verse “Seto khola bhayera, bagauchu timro betha”, the singer metaphors himself as a river and wants to wash away all the pain and burden that his beloved carries.
The song starts with a fingerstyle guitar intro, followed by a nonchalant bassline which complements the song and it lets the vocals and the guitar melody cut through, with one taking over the melodic control while the other is silent.
His atypical and experimental style of using chords blends in with the warm sound of classical guitar. The tender strings on the background instantly make you yearn for reflecting upon nostalgic memories. Kaha Chau is felt melancholic yet comforting to me, leaving me with a contented heart.
This song also has a version with only vocals and guitars.
Blue by Rajesh Nepali
Rajesh Nepali is a singer-songwriter, musician, and producer from Kathmandu who has set the bar high in the Nepali music industry with his soul/rock singing and magnificent songwriting.
The song expresses how after the spark of a relationship is gone, what remains is just the feeling of hurt and hatred.
The song Blue starts with a soulful synth sound followed by strong and intense vocals right off the bat. With the powerful delivery of the starting passage, the chorus interestingly takes a back step with de-stressed octave vocals and resonates with the “there’s nothing you can do now” vibe.
The feeling that I got from this song was like painlessly drowning deeper into the ocean due to its falling melody. Maybe it also had something to do with the word ‘blue.’
Jalai Mai by Arthur Gunn, Dibesh Pokharel
Dibesh Pokharel, the singer-songwriter who is well known by his stage name “Arthur Gunn”, has been continuing to take his fans by surprise with his versatility.
His song Jalai Mai from the album Khoj is a true work of art, an example of fusion in its prime. The bluesy progression goes very well with Nepali folk-style singing. If you had said to me that slide guitar blues go well with the Nepali Lok vibe before Jalai Mai, I would’ve been skeptical.
Incorporating fusion in music has always been a well-appreciated gesture among the musician community. However, it is very difficult to make it sound natural and like one style, despite having influences from continents apart, which Dibesh has successfully done on this song.
Moreover, the inclusion of Madal and Sarangi makes the adds to the Lok flavor. Let’s hear about the song In Arthur’s own words:
“Jalai Mai” was written to express empathy about life in general. It is about the characters in life, that dwell in places & people and keep them as a part of life. While reminiscing about such moments, memories and the parts of life, the song came to life.
Timi Tara, Kahiley Kahi by Nindramaya
The song, though shorter in length, will make you come back to it again and again. The simplicity of the lyrics, delivered with Rojnita’s intimate singing, is able to convey the sweet longing of wanting to talk with her beloved.
However, the mellifluous chord progression she plays along with her beautifully composed vocal phrases is the heart of this song. Her imaginative outlook when it comes to writing songs gets across with the places she goes with her voice and guitar right before transitioning to the second verse of the song.
The subtle vocal harmonization at the end adds a lot of presence to the music. Overall, it’s a short and beautiful song.
It’s also interesting how she’s chosen to resemble the tone of the guitar to sounds you hear in solo jazz guitars.