Little Blues Men
They cast a spell when they perform on stage. Their showmanship takes the whole concept of live concerts in Nepal to a totally different high. They are the Blues band Nekhvam.
Those who are Blues fans will understand what this band is to Nepal’s music field. It was 15 years ago that Nekhvam started playing music under different names. Inclined to Rock-n-Roll and Blues, Nekhvam started their journey playing commercial cover songs and today they are based in Blues. They mostly play experimental music improvising quite often.
Started by Ashesh Dangol (vocals and guitar) Nekhvam is a three-member band with Sibesh Dangol on bass and Binay Shrestha on drums.
“We have had many drummers but the most prominent were Kiran and the legendary Dev Rana. Others too made huge contributions when they were with us,” says Ashesh.
The band was officially formed in 1994 and the name was given by Ashesh and Sibesh. “We zeroed in on ‘Nekhvam’, which in Newari means ‘one who loves to hear music’.” “When we first started to play Blues, there weren’t any band focused only on Blues except for Mukti and the Revival. I remember the time when we performed at Tri Chandra College, there
was pin drop silence as people could not relate to our type of music. Even restaurant owners asked us to play commercial songs and discouraged us from playing our type of music or improvising cover songs,” recalls Ashesh.
Sibesh adds, “We grew up during the time of Metallica and Guns n Roses and everyone believed that only those who could play their music were rockers.”
Ashesh fondly remembers the time when Tilak Magar of String band came to watch them perform and called them ‘Little Blues Men’. The band learned a lot from him.
Their performances used to be (still are) more of a jam session where they play one song for almost 45 minutes making improvisations.
As a band they are not only involved in performing but have also been teaching eager youth music since 1994 and their students have formed their own bands like Jocos and
Apart from entertaining through music they are actively involved in social causes.
“We are from a lower-middle class family and our childhood was full of many unfulfilled desires. Now we are better off financially, so when we see under-privileged children with so much hopes and dreams, we want to help them in every possible way,” says Ashesh.
When they organised the first Blues festival ‘Kathmandu Blues 2006’, they came across a group of youth who were working for the benefit of orphans through their Helping Together Organisation. The band gave away the amount generated from the festival to the organisation. On Binay’s wife’s initiative, they also did a concert ‘Blues for a Cause’ in 2007.
They admire Mukti and Revival, Jocos, Kutumba and Shyam Nepali.
Talking about the music scene today Ashesh says, “People don’t see our music as Nepali music, but Nepali music is not only folk music. All music made by Nepalis
is Nepali music and it’s high time people started accepting it.”
You can catch Nekhvam performing live at De Ice Bar every Friday, and at Jatra every Saturday. — Abhilasha Subba