Music for all
The crowd was eating out of the palm of his hand when we reached the UCEP premises at Sanothimi, Bhaktapur (and we were late by perhaps 10 minutes). In just five minutes one was able to tell why.
The connection that binds a performer to his/her audience was so strong here that to ask a fellow audience whether s/he was enjoying the show would be an insult.
Yes, the pigtailed singer was wowing his audience with everything that was in him as a singer, an artiste and a performer. And the chemistry he shared with his band members was unmistakable.
And the show was everything that it promised to be — Nepathya for All. The performance was for everyone gathered there, be it the rescued child labourers and underprivileged students undergoing technical training at UCEP or the dignitaries who had been invited to grace the show. When Nepathya played this afternoon, all boundaries and fences were broken, and people — young and not so young, underprivileged or not — everyone put their worries behind them and stomped and jumped to the band’s tune.
And one could not tell who was louder — the band or the audience. Whistling, clapping, cheering and singing along with Amrit Gurung, the band’s frontman, the audience made the show a part of their life.
The day’s show was the fourth Nepathya for All series organised by nepa~laya in association with Underprivileged Children’s Education Programs and Rug Mark Foundation, and supported by the embassy of Finland.
From the stage Gurung said only humans are capable of doing a wrong and yet it is also up to us to forget these wrongs and move on in peace and harmony. He asked people not to leave one’s country in search of greener pastures elsewhere, instead he urged them to return to their villages and use the education they have acquired in cities for the development of villages.
And the audience of course shouted ‘Yes’!
Chekyo, chekyo..., Bheda ko oon jasto, Resham, Namche bazaar — the list could go on. Nepathya performed all these and more, all to the enjoyment of their audience. Gurung’s rendition of Gaon gaon bata utha received calls for ‘Once more’.
Initially there were just a few dancers — the bold ones, then one young man unfurled a black and white scarf and started waving it above his head all the while jumping to Nepathya’s beats. Slowly but steadily other bandanas unfurled — red, white, green — until you could see a considerable number of scarves being waved to the songs’ rhythms. And someone who didn’t have a scarf, took off his jacket and waved it and even threw it. The bold dancers were being joined by more stompers till almost the entire audience was on its feet and jumping and waving arms in the air looking like swirling dervishes.
By the end of the show, one was not sure who was more hoarser — Gurung or the audience?
The crowd was not at all ready to leave but with the sun setting in the western sky, Nepathya ended their show with Rato ra chandra ra surya.
And as Gurung said tomorrow is promised to no one but wished for the good of everyone, so do we, and that Nepathya keep bringing smiles to all with their music.