Bharat Nepali Party,
Himalaya Roots:
Traditional Music of Nepal

(Interra, 1996)

On June 1, 2001, Nepal came in to the world spotlight when Crown Prince Dipendra killed several members of the royal family, including himself. I had always assumed this mountain kingdom was a peaceful, spiritual place, even though I've never been there. This incident let me know that these people are just as influenced by human failings as the rest of world. Perhaps it is fitting then, that I am now reviewing Himalaya Roots: Traditional Music of Nepal, performed by the Bharat Nepali Party, to once again remind me of the spiritual side of Nepal.

The musicians are Bharat Nepali, Raman Maharjam, Hari Nepali, Baharaja Shrestha and Bheba Napali. The recording was made in Kathmandu, Nepal in May 1995. The traditional Nepalese songs on the album are played on the sarangi, tabla, cymbal and flute.

The sarangi is very common in Indian classical music. It is a small, multi-stringed instrument that comes in a variety of styles and is played with a bow (although not in the same way as a violin). The tabla, also of Indian origin, is a pair of drums, each played with a separate hand to provide complex percussive rhythms. With India bordering Nepal on three sides, it should not be surprising to find common instrument usage between the two nations.

This CD contains 10 instrumental selections. "Resamm Phiriry (Trekking Song)" is led by the flute. This piece starts off at a medium pace before finishing off at a faster rhythm. I find it very energetic and quite enjoyable.

"Assaraimasko Dabdabhelio" is rather slow and melodic in contrast. It quickly fades into the background and would probably be great to meditate by. The light, repetitive beat of the percussion is hypnotic in its own way. This is a longer track at around eight minutes.

"Byanculi (Morning Song Part I)" is another eight-minute selection. The pace slows to what is typical on this CD. There is a change with the percussion starting about four minutes in that I find interesting. The complex beat definitely captures my attention every time I listen to it.

Himalaya Roots: Traditional Music of Nepal is a very pretty instrumental CD. The Bharat Nepali Party showcases several dream-like, meditative pieces that quickly bring to mind the spiritual background of the Nepalese people. The tranquil sounds can be soothing to one's soul. Perhaps in these troubled times, this CD offers just the right elixir to transcend worldly worries -- at least for about an hour.

[ by Wil Owen ]
Rambles: 27 October 2001

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