JAM SESSION: The first notes

KATHMANDU: Their families supported them from their childhood in their involvement in music, and when the four came together, the band Anuprastha was born. Niren Shahi (vocal/lead), Jimmi Joshi (bass), Sunder Maharjan (drums) and Govind Sunwar (rhythm/lead) have been playing in different concerts and restaurants in Thamel since 2003.

“Anuprastha means the starting tune. We found it unique and very Nepali. So we decided on it as the name of our band,” said Niren.

In their initial years they performed in many concerts and also participated in various competitions, but nowadays they focus more on gigs.

“While playing in restaurants, you get to be in small group and can also see the audience enjoying the music. The performance is more intimate and there is more chance of improvising,” said Jimmi.

Along with their music, the boys are also serious about their studies. Sunder has just finished his diploma in engineering and is busy learning tabla from Praya Sangeet Samiti. Govind is busy with his BBS course, whereas though Jimmi and Niren have discontinued their BBS course, they don’t plan to let it be.

They were introduced to music at an early age. Sunder’s father is a musician and sings bhajans, and his brother Satish Maharjan is a well-known Newari Bhasa singer. His first instrument was maadal which he learned at the age of three. Niren does not remember when he actually started to sing, but seeing his elder brother involved in music he too got inspired and sang Deep Shrestha’s Biteka ka kura as his first stage performance when he was in Class VIII. Jimmi’s father gifted him his first guitar and taught him the chords.

“When you play alone, it’s different. You can make your own music but when it comes to playing together in a band, it is very important to understand and respect each other and each individual’s contribution to the band,” said Sunder.

“We all work as a team and make sure we create music that people will love,” said Jimmi, adding, “Sunder practises a lot at home, Niren too improvises on the cover songs we play and Govind is very hard working — he practises a lot studying the guitar programmes on the computer, whereas I am the laziest member.”

They do cover versions of Pearl Jam, Beatles, Eagles and Eric Clapton, but they make sure that they focus more on Nepali bands and artists such as 1974 AD, Deep Shrestha, Arun Thapa and Robin Tamang.

They respect bands like 1974 AD for taking Nepali music to the international audience and Nepathya for bringing the folk flavour to rock music to create what both the urban and rural Nepal can identify with.

They feel that if music is taken seriously and musicians work hard on it and give it time and dedication, it is not very difficult to survive and earn enough. But one should be able to give enough time and take it more as a passion than a profession. They regularly perform at Lhasa restaurant, KTM Pub and FTV Bar.