Knights of nostalgia

Sanjeev Satgainya


Want to revive the musical memories of the 60s and 70s when the world followed the tunes of Pink Floyd, Beatles, Pearl Jam, CCR, Elvis Presley and the likes! Fans can still be found aplenty of these music maestros who not only created and sang for themselves but also gave a new dimension to world music. If you are also one of them who craves to listen to them, live, then head straight for Rum Doodle Restaurant in Thamel every Friday where Heartbreakers — one of the most popular bands in town known for cover singing — will embark you onto a journey into that era. ‘Heartbreakers’ — Kathmandu’s “good time blues band” — doesn’t break your heart but promises that you would love to listen to them again and again and reminisce those golden oldies. Established 10 years ago, the band members are not as popular as the band itself is. The band consists of five members — Anil Tuladhar (lead guitarist/ vocalist), Sunil Tuladhar (vocalist/ rhythm guitarist), Rajesh Tuladhar (drummer), Akil Tuladhar (bass guitarist) and Buddha Maharjan (vocalist/ percussionist). “We chose the name out of solidarity for one of our band members who was sad because his heart had been broken,” laughs Sunil Tuladhar, Anil’s brother and manager of the band. Tuladhar stops short of disclosing the identity of the musician.

For the last one decade, the band has been singing covers of all time greats, mostly of western origin, mostly belonging to the 60’s and the 70’s. Five members of the band have their own business and they started singing only as a hobby. “We studied in Darjeeling and the guitar was one belonging there that you had to have. When we came back to Kathmandu we used to jam up once in a while just for fun — continuing our hobby,” says Sunil. The story of their formation happened all of a sudden. “We used to sing and play instruments as a hobby. In 1995, Casino Nepal was celebrating its annual function and they needed singers to perform. Five of us were asked and we were given an instant nod. That was the first show we did and we realise then that there would be no looking back. Blues and rock ‘n roll form a regular feature of their repertoire besides ballads, hard rock and Nepali numbers. It’s strange, though, that despite being popular, people, apart from those who have known the band performing, don’t know its members individually. “That’s because we did not realise the importance of cutting albums,” regret band members unanimously. The only album they have released is ‘Heartbreakers’ which was released in 1997. The band is working on an album that they believe they will finish in four to five months. “But we are still proud to have been acknowledged this way,” says Anil.

The band’s solo concert at Basantapur in 1999 — the AC/DC Live Concert — was one of the biggest and most successful concerts the band has ever had where they performed their own numbers and hard rock. Another memorable concert under their belt is ‘Come Kathmandu Together’ which was held in 2002. The band also has to its credits performing at most of the five star hotels in the capital innumerable times. Be it rock ‘n roll or reggae or disco, be it ballads and blues or be it hard rock — trust the Heartbreakers for doing it all in their own unique panaché. And if you want to remember some of the greatest songs of the century, Rum Doodle’s where you may find yourself where food, music and nostalgia come together on Friday evening.