Knights of Folk Music

Music Issue 157 Dec, 2014
Text by Girish Subedi

Nepali folk band Night release their debut album.

After numerous changes in their line-up, the band Night released their first album, ‘Ani Ukali, Sangai Orali, last month. Featuring ten songs, the album will also include two hit singles- ‘Kathor’ and ‘Tuina ko cha hai bhara,’ which have been released and well-received on YouTube.

Experimenting with more than a dozen musical instruments (mostly folk), the band is rather an ensemble of innovative musicians who work together for a common cause: to preserve the dying culture of Nepali folk music. Along with their album, the band is also promoting Nepali folk musical instruments via their project, ‘Afno Baaja Chinau’ (‘Know Your Instrument’). 

With a recent tie-up with Sub-Sonic Roots, a UK based record label run by Nepali expats, Night is all set to enliven the Nepali music scene with their exclusive and authentic modern folk music. Their inclusion of endangered folk instruments in the album is something that is more than just an effort to bring forth their music-it is something that only a handful of musicians are doing in Nepal’s context at the moment. “Most of the songs that we have written for the album also represent the different types of singing styles of various regions of the nation,” says Jason Kunwar, who is one of the founding members of the band. 

Recorded at Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (70%), Rec Records (20%) and at Jason’s home studio (10%) as well as mixed and mastered by the sound engineers under the wing of Sub-Sonic Roots in UK, Night’s debut album is surely going to be one of a kind. The recording sessions of this new album features talented multi-instrumentalists, who are Bibhushan Basnet--vocals, dhime, guitars and other percussions; Niraj Shakya- murchungna and tungna; Birat Basnet- nyakhi, dhime, guitars and nagara; Paras Mani Subedi- dhime and madal; Sumnima Singh (Mina)-vocals and of course Jason himself who plays sarangi, bamboo flute, tungna, kwakencha, nagara, pilhru and singing bowls. “During live programs, Niraj also plays the keyboards and Sudhir Acharya accompanies us with his damaha, dyamko and murchungna,” adds Kunwar. 

Known amongst their audience for their significant contribution to the rekindling of the Nepali folk scene, Night’s debut album is not just a casual act. “Our music contains some serious ethno-musical research, which is practically represented in our songs and performances,” says Shakya.