Music that bridges boundariesThe Embassy of India celebrated 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and Nepal through folk and classical music.
To celebrate the 75-year-long relationship between Nepal and India, the Embassy of India organised ‘Sangeet Sukoon’ a musical evening reimaging classical and folk music on January 20.
With the intention of commemorating folk music of Nepal and India, ‘Sangeet Sukoon’ featured performances from the Indian band Carnatic 2.0 and Nepali band Kutumba. Everyone from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, former prime ministers KP Sharma Oli, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, senior leaders Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato, Minister of Foreign Affairs Bimala Rai Paudyal, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Damodar Bhandari, and Chief of Army Staff of Nepali Army, General Prabhu Ram Sharma were attended the event at the Nepal Army Auditorium.
The event kicked off at 6pm sharp as a majority of the audience had arrived early and were all seated by 5:55pm. Some young folks today might find classical and folk music boring, and think only a few people would show up events like this, the Nepal Army Auditiorium was jam packed with eager attendees on Saturday. Over 600 individuals of all ages attended the event. Those who arrived right before the show began had to stand throughout the show as all the seats were full by then.
The event began with everyone singing the national anthem of Nepal followed by the national anthem of India. While I am aware that we Nepalis are very influenced by Indian culture, I was shocked to find out that most people in the audience knew the national anthem of India too. For me, this served as proof of how deep the relationship between Nepal and India is. I was glad that the event did not have any boring long speeches or historical explanations. The Ambassador of India to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, welcomed us all with a short speech and the musical performances began right away.
Nepali band Kutumba started off the concert dressed in matching cultural costumes. From the first song they performed, the group created a soulful and powerful atmosphere, transporting everyone to some quaint little town in the Himalayas where one could probably hear such invigorating music regularly.
Kutumba performed a total of five songs—including their hit ‘Rato Ra Chandra Surya’—during their 30 minutes set list. While every piece utilised the same musical instrument, the emotions each song expressed was very different. The group moved through themes of powerf, soul, and Patriotism through their music during their performance. While the whole band put on a spectacular show, I was particularly blown away by the musicality of the flautist.
After Kutumba, the Indian band Carnatic 2.0 graced the stage for their performance. The group showcased almost every genre of Indian music—from classical to Bollywood—during their half an hour set list. Where Kutumba almost exclusively performed Nepali folk music, Carnatic 2.0’s music had elements of western sounds too.
Carnatic 2.0 started their performance with a classical piece. I felt like violin was the star of their performance. The group then moved onto playing some Bollywood tracks including ‘Deva Deva’ and ‘Kesariya’ from the movie. It seemed like everyone in the audience knew these two songs as the whole auditorium started cheering and singing along to these tracks very loudly.
The group moved onto some retro Bollywood bangers, a fusion version of ‘Jiya Re’ from Jab Tak Hai Jaan and by the time they finished this segment of the concert, everyone was dancing around and humming along to these familiar tunes. Carnatic 2.0 ended their set on a powerful note. They performed a ‘Shiva Bhajan’ which hyped up the crowd even more.
We were then delighted to see the two groups together on the stage for an impromptu performance. “We’re not prepared for this duo performance so, please don’t judge us everyone. We decided to do this just now,” chimed Pratab who was on vocals with Carnatic 2.0.
The two groups performed the Newar song Rajamati and ‘Taal ko Pani’ by Nepathya together and what impressed me was that even though Kutumba and Carnatic 2.0 had not practiced these tracks together, their playing was very much in sync. They complemented each other’s melodies and sound through their playing and that to me is a sign of great musicality.
Sangeet Sukoon provided a calming and peaceful end to my week. And it was the perfect way to celebrate the 75 years long tie between Nepal and India.