Sunday, February 22, 2009

Capital to see historic music concert in Shivaratri

KATHMANDU, Feb 22: Namaste, a popular fusion-rock band harking back to the 90s, is set to rock the capital after a five year hiatus on Shivaratri. The Mahashivarati World Music Festival 2009 will see more than three dozen singers, musicians and bands perform on the same stage alongside the Pokhareli band on February 23 at Bhrikuti Mandap premises.

Former Rastafarian Ishwar Gurung will “try and bring as many music enthusiasts as possible together on the day of Shiva, an artist himself”.

The singer argued that the reason it will be a world music event, is because the audience will be able to enjoy different genres of music from around the world, including pop, rock, hip-hop and “metallic-dead” from the same platform.

The frontman of the rock band said Japanese bands such as Kinta Kunte, Jah Taboo and Pilater will perform alongside them, and an American soloist known as Dan will perform with a Nepali instrumental band.

Nepal’s oldest rock group Prism will attempt another reunion at the concert. Prism has not played together for several years. Even though the band does not play any original songs, the veterans are credited for popularizing Western rock music in Kathmandu. Chitwan’s favorite - The Shadows - will face decade-old The Axe. Nepal’s first female rocker Abhaya and the Steam Injuns will try to warm up the cold day of Shivaratri. The ever-static Cobweb will most likely play their Maryo ni Maryo one more time. Teacher-rockers Mt 8848, guitar performer Anil Shahi and Maya Mantra, Stone AMP and Saayas will all come together to rock the capital, where the outdoor concerts has declined with even less crowd turnout.

Organizers hope this event will mark a revival of Nepali music. “The idea is to enjoy music while the musicians learn from each other,” Gurung said.

Other lineups include Om Bikram Bista, Nima Rumba, Sabin Rai, Anil Singh, Mingma Sherpa, Mausami Gurung, Reshma Sunuwar, Nepsydaz, Sugam Pokharel, Avinash Ghising, and a few other yet to be confirmed solo singers.

The event, slated for Monday, will also mark the band’s 20th anniversary.

Ishwar Gurung, a native of Pokhara, formed the Namaste band in 1989 with his buddies Sunil Gurung, Pancha Lama and Shanti Rayamajhi. They have six albums under their belt and are famous for their antics, especially frontman Ishwar Gurung’s. In 2004, Gurung shaved his head, saved for 17 years from any blades, in the name of “world peace”. Their 1998 album “Sandesh” was an instant classic, with hits like Hami Agyani and the original of Nepathya’s Chari Maryo Sishai ko Goliley.

The band also has a historic road show under its record of doing 29 shows in 30 days throughout the country. They even performed at Kalapatthar in Mt Everest region at the height of 5,565 meters to try and register for the “Open Air Concert in the highest location” category with the Guinness Book of World Records in 1998. But their efforts were in vain due to lack of governmental support.

Their music uses ample percussions, powerful rhythm and commanding lyrics, with an aftertaste of Reggae beats.

Gurung has been so critical in the development of open air concerts in Nepal, that Nepal has seen a massive decline in number and audience turnout. The Mahashivaratri Music Festival started in 1994 and went on for the next 10 consecutive years, proving one of the best platforms for newcomers to showcase their talents from Mongolian Hearts to Nabin Bhattarai.

The Maha Shivaratri World Music Festival will start at noon and will run until late in the evening. It will also travel to Pokhara on December 28.
Source: Republica

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