A Report on
Sarangi Hamro Musical Event
February 28, 2014
Gandharba Society Nepal
“Sarangi Hamro” musical event
February 28, 2014
Gandharba Samaj Nepal (GSN) has established with objectives to keep the Gandharba traditions alive and improve the economic and educational status of Gandharba community, particularly focusing on marginalised groups and women by organizing different forms of program. The GSN has organized “Sarangi Hamro” with an objective to preserve the way of life of Gandharvas’ and their typical cultural heritage by means of documenting their traditional culture, particularly of their folk songs and music.
The “Sarangi Hamro” program was organized as a musical event at Trade Tower, Thapathali, Kathmandu on February 28, 2014. In the program, Mr. Shankar Bhandari, an honourable Constitution Assembly (CA) member, and central member and head of department of Youth of Nepali Congress was invited as a chief guest. The veteran of Gandharba culture and tradition, and anthropologist Mr. Tulsi Diwas was invited as a special guest, whereas leader Kiran Babu Sherestha, ex. Member-secretary of National Dalit Commission Hari Bahadur Gandhari, representatives of Nepal Dalit Association Mr. Ramkrishna Lakandri and Laxmi Pariyar, coordinator of Gandharba Sangharsa Samiti Mr. Purna Bahadur Gandhari, and the Hero of the democratic demonstration Mr. Rubin Gandharba were offered to take a seat of guests. Mr. Suresh Gandhari, the president of GSN, was a chairperson of the program.
The biggest sarangi of the world, which is crafted by Padam Bahadur Gandharba and is about 7.7 ft., and the smallest sarangi were displayed on a stage. After a short introduction of the program “Sarangi Hamro” by an announcer Santosh Gandharba, a melodious music of Sarangi by Bhim Gandharba was heard in the program. With the melodious strings, the program as well as the establishment of GSN was inaugurated by joining hands of the chairperson, chief guest, special guest and other guests. In the program, batches were distributed to the guests by GSN vice-secretary Jyoti Gandhari and Vice-president Pampha Gandhari. Ms. Pampha Gandhari delivered the welcome speech which included a requirement of meaningful representation and inclusion of Gandharba in socio-political and economic opportunities for its development. Mr. Kedar Gandhari, a central committee member, delivered a speech including mission, vision, goals, objectives and activities of GSN that is inevitable for creating a conducive environment of equality to Gandharba caste.
After some meaningful speeches, a musical event was started. At first, the very old and Hindu religious song- Shree Swasthani song- was sung by Mr. Chekh Bahadur Gandharba from Lamjung. The song was about the importance of the Hindu goddess Shree Swasthani and her greatness in getting happiness, and the worship is supposed as a way to the heaven. The song explains 31 different chapters of the Hindu religious book ‘Shree Swasthani’ which is often read during January/February (Magh month). The Triplet Band had increased heartbeats of an audience when the band started to play a fusion form of folk songs. The fusion of Sarangi, flute, and drum (tabala) were played on the evergreen Nepali folk songs that showed the potential of Sarangi to be mingled with other modern musical instruments. With the end of the playful musical performance, Mr. Hari Bahadur Gandhari, a former Member-Secretary of National Dalit Commission, was invited to deliver a speech. Mr. Gandhari provided religious and historical accounts of Gandharba and reintroduced the contribution of Gandharba for the unification of Nepal and the salvation from autocratic monarchy. Mr. Gandhari, furthermore, insisted the government to reconsider the Gandharba representation in CA from remaining 26 posts.
“There are specific songs for 12 different months, according to Nepali Calender” Padam Gandharba said “I have documented all those songs and wish to handover to the next generation.” Padam started to sing a song of Falgun month since the month is running. Mr. Gandharba informed that he is in a process to manufacture an electronic Sarangi after crafting the world’s biggest and the smallest Sarangi. In the program, the GSN had handed a total amount of NRs. 10,000/- to a Cancer patient Mr. Raju Gandharba, the amount was received by his brother on behalf of him.
Mr. Shankar Bhandari, an honourable CA member and a chief guest of the program, was invited to deliver his speech in advance due to his busy time schedule. Mr. Bhandari showed his deepest appreciation to the Gandharba culture and Sarangi. He was thankful to the organizer and the talent demonstrated by Gandharba and their Sarangi. He committed to raise the issues of Gandharba in CA. Furthermore, Mr. Bhandari committed to raise the issue of Cancer patient in the Constitution Assembly. Moreover, he appreciated the effort made by Padam Gandharba to produce an electronic Sarangi and showed his commitment to assist. He showed his continual preparedness to support Gandharba for their betterment.
Sakshyam Band performed on a folk music in a fusion style. Sarangi, flute and drum (Tabala) were played together spontaneously and produced a very melodious music. The music was accompanied by a round blows of applaud. The Shakshyam Band was succussed to attract the entire concentration of an audience. Mr. Gopilal Gandharba, an old musician from Gorkha, performed ‘Malshri’. Malshri is about the Hindu god ‘Gorakhnath’. According to Nepali culture and Gandharba culture Malshri is sung before starting any program. This song is supposed as a good luck for the success of a program. Barta Gandharba, a young and exceptionally talent artist, was invited to perform on a stage. She sang a song with her heart touching voice and a beautiful Sarangi. The song was about the relationship between mother and daughter and their sufferings. An old artist Mr. Krishna Bahadur Gandharba was invited to perform afterward. His fingers started to run on the strings of Sarangi with a humorous folk Nepali song at a first glance. The song contained a humorous talk between a young girl and a boy. Afterward, Mr. Gandharba sang an old song based on fact. The song was about multi- marriage system. Women sufferings because of multi-marriage system in the patriarchal Nepalese society were beautifully reflected in the song.
As a last musical performance, Rudra Band was invited on a stage. While the band was preparing its settings, Pujan Gandharba was invited to deliver a speech. Pujan put on light on an overall objective of the program. Furthermore, he asserted that the GSN a common place for the past, present and future generation where they can find their space. The band performed on classical, folk and modern music. The band was composed of Sarangi and flute players, and drummer. The band, in a later part of the event, was combined with Japanese artists and later on with an American musician, played together and gave a potential of fusion of Sarangi with western music. The performance was well accepted by audience. Mr. Suresh Gandhari, the chairperson of the program, was invited to close the program. Mr. Gandhari showed his deepest appreciation to the committee members, volunteers, generous sponsors, exceptionally talented artists, audience, and others. “Thank you all! Without you all the program would not be successful”, Suresh Gandhari said. The program was supported (generous Sponsors) by the Mountain Music Project, Nepal Academy, Nabil Bank, Holly lodge, Panda Treks and Expedition, Ms. Sandra Fiedeldy and Mr. David Brown, Mr. Ray Peacock, Mr. David Reeves, and Mr. Nicholas Berry. In the program, Yogendra Gandhari who won Australia Award Scholarship in 2012 to pursue Master of Arts in Community Development at Murdoch University of Western Australia, Kedar Gandhari- the first music therapist in Nepal, Amrit Gandhari, and Kendra Gandharba were honoured.
This event has brought different stakeholders like CA members, culturist and anthropologists, politicians and government officials, I/NGOs and media together. This event has provided a common place for the stakeholders where the intangible culture of Gandharvas has got special privileged through access to broader audience. More importantly, this event has provided an opportunity to document a typical music of Gandharva community which may help to sustain the Gandharva culture for the present and future generations. Apart from the musical event, this event has provided a space for dialogical discussion on the importance of Gandharva culture through speeches which may help to reintroduce the Gandharva culture into broader audience.
This event has brought Gadharba culture into the limelight which may aware the future generations about the importance and historical facts of Gandharvas. Moreover, this event has helped to reintroduce the beauty of Sarangi, provided a place for cultural expression, and preserved intangible heritage of Gandharva community. Furthermore, this event has provided assistance to a Cancer patient. Constitution Assembly Member Shankar Bhandari has committed to provide assistance for the development of electronic Sarangi and to the Cancer patient as well. Therefore, the event has become successful in a sense that the event became a hotspot to raise the issues of Gandharba.
The program was planned for 3 hours but it took almost 5 hours despite downsizing the program. Therefore, GSN should work on time management and program management. The program was supposed to start at sharp 2 pm but the program was started 1 hour late because of late attendance of the chief guest and other guests. Thus, GSN should well collaborate with guests to make them available in a predefined time. Some audience seem dissatisfied with the program and hence, GSN should try its best to downsize the weaknesses. More importantly, this type of culture event has a crucial importance for the liveliness of Gandharba culture. Therefore, GSN should keep doing this type of event in the future as well.