It’s been a while since Rebel Up! dropped something special here on GB, either been too busy dj-ing/organising and pre-occupuied with other musical stuff, as it always goes. Good to see so many other contributors have stepped up in the last year to keep the fire going!
This is a mixtape I already made in 2011 as part of a small UK tour I did with the guys from Sublime Frequencies label in the UK and at All Tomorrow’s Parties, but never got around to put online yet, until now….
Many western folks don’t know much else about Nepal except that it’s poor and good for cheap mountain tourism. But ofcourse there’s surely more to Nepali culture than meets the western eye. With a population that consists of various Tibeto-Burmese and Indian ethnical sub groups and Hindu castes, Nepal has an equally rich and complex culture that brims with artistic fusion unknown to the rest of the world. This especially can be heard in the local music where folkloric styles sound like an unique melting pot of Indian, Tibetan and Chinese influences put together but which sounds nothing like the over-produced Bollywood sound or bizarre Chinese opera. The last decennium has seen a true revival of these folkloric styles with the modern help of digital studio techniques. Before only released as cheap cassettes for busdrivers, truckers and shopkeepers, the music now even reaches into every household through video cd’s, mp3 cd’s, mobile phones and the growing use of usb sticks as playing medium.
This selection is a combination of music and adverts culled from various radio stations and collected in many street shops during a 1 month trip in 2008. Nepali folkpop song styles can be divided into ‘Lok geet’ (single sung songs) or ‘Lok Dohori Geet’ (male-female duets) and ‘Teej Geet’ which I guess refers to group singing on quite a fast pace, but am not sure. These songs can easily last up to 10 or 20 minutes each and always have a recurring theme/story, expressed with twirling vocals. In this mix the central themes are engagements, marriages, love (blues), busdrivers, pro-Maoist worker rights, death, feudal injustice and even child abuse, enough for a daily reality dose of Nepali happiness and trouble. Key to the Nepali sound is the small madal dholak drum which is never left out in the sound and its repetitive rhythm somehow feels like the ‘riddim’ from Caribbean roots spheres as you would hear in ragga/dancehall. Aided by damaha drums, curled horns that sound like speedy bagpipes, violins, flutes, synthesizers, effects etc, the depth of Nepalese folkpop music should not be underestimated but embraced. From fast Lok Geet tunes and shrill horns of the Koseli and Gurung sound to the slow soothing rhythm of Tamang Selo music and heavy transcendental mountain lores, you’ll soon find yourself swinging in hypnotic compulsion. Listen to this bubbling folkpop mix and discover the true contemporary sound of Nepal!
A tracklisting was next to impossible to make, since this mix is filled with radio fragments, songs from mp3 cd’s without info and video cd’s in the Nepali language. Best leave it to the mystics, it’s all about the sound, ain’t it? This mix can also be bought as a cd-r in a specially handmade pouch from original Nepali topi hat fabric + a pink Nepalese 5 rupee bill with yaks on it, for those interested (just pull my digital sleeve).
Below some more wonderful and enticingly riddim booming Lok Geet video’s.
Enjoy and namaste!
Sebcat signing out.
and some Tamang Selo stylee