Hot off the presses, a trailer for the upcoming Mountain Music Project film... enjoy!
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Nepal becomes a democracy this week, with long-delayed elections which will likely result in the Nepali monarchy being retired. It's a very exciting time, but it's also unlikely that the elections will heal ethnic violence in the Terai or old caste discriminations throughout the country. This week, we bring you old-timer Hum Bahadur Gandharba's song, Untouchability.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
There are 8 hour power blackouts in Kathmandu these days, and fuel rationing makes transport in the city, a little more tricky than usual. But we're proud to say that the Gandharba musicians and MMP have brought this celebration of traditional Nepali music back to life. We hope it will continue, with the Gandharbas being able to hold Sarangi Day independently in the future.
The day began at the Russian Cultural Center with several speakers and researchers of Nepali music presenting for a Nepali audience. The Gandharba Culture & Arts Organization requested a few members of Nepali Parliament to speak to the Nepali audience, since the GCAO is lobbying for some parliamentary representation in the new government. Like all politicians, they sure can talk, but how much they'll really do for lower caste dalit groups like the Gandharbas remains to be seen.
Anyway we can't let the politicians take up too much time...On to the music! This year on the stage we had Barta Gandharba (Tikki Maya's sister for long-time MMP fans, one only 3 women sarangi players we've met), a group from Jyapa in Eastern Nepal, Palpa's Hum Bahadur Gandharba, and several other groups. A great turnout, and fantastic music from all the artists, including several styles I hadn't heard before. But the most outstanding performance of the day goes to virtuoso sarangi player Shyam Nepali and his fusion band (tabla, guitar, bansuri flute). I'll have that mp3 up soon as I can.
Several radio and tv reporters showed up for their soundbites, hopefully a few of em can give the Gandharbas some airtime here in Kathmandu.
In the evening, we held a fundraising concert at the North Palace Restaurant in the tourist district of Thamel featuring encore performances by Rubin, Barta, Hum Bahadur, the Jyapa Gandharbas and several other singers, dancers, and performers...and a heck of alot of dahl baht...The turnout was amazing, and we think we got the music and message out to quite a few foreigners this evening, and had a blast doing so.
We were extremely lucky to have 4 elderly musicians from the countryside with us for the event. Gopilal Gandhari, Akal Bahadur Gandharba, and Lal Bahadur Gandharba all made the trip from the Gorkha area. But everyone's favorite was Hum Bahadur Gandharba all the way from Palpa. With these old-timers in Kathmandu, we were able to bring them to a studio to record a few of the songs they don't want their grandkids to forget. Click the flash player below to hear Hum Bahadur performing the embittered love song Honi Maya:
Another performer at Sarangi Day, whose songs and face are well-known in Nepal (if not his name) is 17 year old Rubin Gandharba. His politically-inspired songs, often landing him in jail for performances at the democracy protests of recent years have some people calling him the Bob Dylan of Nepal. We'll try to get an interview of him on the MMP blog one of these days...
Huge thanks to Ashley Stone and Laura Brennan for volunteering, to Raj Kumar Gandhari and Buddha Gandharba for their outstanding efforts in this year's Sarangi Day festival, to all the Gandharbas who volunteered, and to our donors for making it all possible.
In other news, we're donating some sarangi (fiddles) and madal (drums) to a local Kathmandu orphanage's music education program. Check out our new friends at www.mitrata.org. Another few days in Kathmandu and Jake's off to Dehli to edit the film with Monga. Stay tuned for clips for A Higher Lonesome Sound in the coming months.
To our friends back home in the USA: We've got some new t-shirts on their merry way back to the states, as well as a bunch of instruments. For donations of $50 or more, you can now choose between two tshirt designs (pics coming soon). For donations of $100 or more, we'll send you a full-size Nepali sarangi or madal drum as an incentive gift. See the bottom of the page for donation information.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Well Folks, Sarangi Day went beautifully. We'll have photos and audio up soon (still busy this week getting the old guys into the recording studio). Here's a shot of Jake, Buddhiman, and Raj Kumar bringing in the tourists for the evening concert in Thamel...
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Come one, come all...Not one but two concerts Thursday February 28th. The first event begins at 1PM at the Russian Cultural Center, Kamal Pokhari. There'll be guest speakers, researchers presenting their work, and more importantly, several of the old-school musicians from the hills of Palpa, Gorkha, and eastern Jyapa will be performing onstage. This first event is mainly for Nepalis, but all are welcome.
In the evening, starting at 7PM, the North Palace Restaurant will host the second event, for our tourist friends. Admission is 400 Nrp and gets you a drink and vegetarian thakali buffet, as well as an evening of authentic Nepali folk music and some good karma for helping out the GCAO (and since so many people are asking, we'll have some of those embroidered MMP t-shirts for sale too).
Local Bideshis: We're looking for some volunteers to help out with the concert here in Kathmandu. Please call Jake: +977 980 368 2306 or email us: mountainmusicproject at gmail dot com.
I'm so proud of the Gandharbas who have really come together to make Sarangi Day work. We hope you can join us...
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
So we got our final guest artist to record on the MMP fusion CD project! Our buddy Riley Baugus laid down some awesome vocal tracks; on a song we had done with the Nepalis and then a beautiful old time a cappella piece. He and Danny also sang another duet a cappella song for the video camera, which rocked in the way that only two real Appalachian-raised singers can get it rocking. Hopefully, we'll have a clip of that up soon for folks to see.
Riley grew up going to a regular Baptist Church in North Carolina, where a cappella singing in the Southern Appalachian style was the tradition. And he got real good at it too. ☺ He is an Old Time multi-instrumentalist and has played with all sorts of folks from the big names in the music business to the old mountain musicians from deep in the hills, some of whom are now legends in Appalachian music. He also sang for the soundtrack of the Academy Award winning movie Cold Mountain. Now he will get to add being a proud member of the MMP recording team!
We would also like to say a special thanks to Les Thompson and Cabin Studios for letting us use his phenomenal microphones for the US recording part of our project. He has a fantastic recording studio out in the country near Lincoln, VA and is a great musician. Some of you may know his name from his days in the award-winning band “The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.” Thanks Les!
Meanwhile, back in Kathmandu, Jake's helping the Gandharbas to revive Sarangi Day, a festival of traditional Gandharba music, featuring musicians from throughout Nepal, who will be performing for both Nepali and tourist audiences. The celebration will begin on February 28th, starting in the Russian Cultural Center at 1PM, with a tourist-oriented dinner concert held in Thamel at the North Palace Restaurant at 7PM.
Some of the performers will include sarangi virtuoso Shyam Nepali, Hum Bahadur (who plays with a haunting western-Nepali style) and several of our friends from the Gandharba Cultural & Arts Organization. For our friends in Kathmandu, we'll have more information here on the blog in the next few days, as the program is finalized. It's gonna be a blast and all are welcome to attend both events. Stay tuned...