The way he drums the ghatam (earthen pot) keeps his audience in awe. Well-known percussionist Manohar Gurung started his musical journey while he was studying in the Modern Indian School. He used to be an active student in the musical department, and he learned the art of playing the tabla, dholak, maadal, and the Latin instruments conga and bongo.
“I have always been interested in fusion music and my only aim has been to make music for the world to identify with, and place Nepal on world music map,” says Gurung, who is highly inspired by ghatam maestro Sri Vikku Vinayakram, tabla ustaad Zakir Hussain and sitar maestro Sri Ravi Shankar.
After learning to play ghatam from Sri Vikku Vinayakram’s son in Chennai, India, Gurung is most probably the only certified ghatam player of Nepal. Apart from playing with the band 1974 AD, he has also performed along with a fusion band Sitapati.
He is not only a musician but also a traveller. Wandering from place to place in search of music and learning more about it, Gurung has performed in various places exchanging his traditional music and creating a fusion with others local instruments.
“I am quite a philosophical person. I believe music originates in your heart and soul and I keep searching for it. When I travel to different places, I not only try to search for music I can relate to, but also that which I can create. New places give me inspiration,” he says.
He composed music in Manila during a musical festival creating a fusion ensemble by mixing solo guitar, Afro-Latino beats, Jazz-fusion and many more with Indian drumming. “I loved performing during the Rock Yatra, New Year Eve 2006 at Philippines and during the World Light Expo 2007,” says Gurung.
Among the local musicians, Gurung looks up to tabla player Jeevan Rai and Navraj Gurung.
“Among my contempories, I like Salil Kanika and Shyam Nepali, and the way they have been working in retaining traditional music and their passion towards it,” Gurung adds.
Gurung also talks highly about 1974 AD members and Stupa. He is presently working with Phiroj Shyangden on his solo album.
You can catch Manohar Gurung performing live at Moksh every Tuesday