Kathmandu: Maile chhoidida phool oilee jharchha

Maile chhuna khoje juna para sarchha

(When I touch the flower, it withers and fades away

When I try to touch the moon it shies away)

With a number of such heart-rending melodious Nepali songs, Anju Devi, a reputed singer from Guwahati, Assam in India performed at Paleti on April 24 at nepalaya’s r-sala.

When she began her performance with the song Yeti dherai maya nadeu malai mayako sagarma dubne chhu (Do not love me so much that I will be lost in the sea of love), the audience were completely overwhelmed and lost somewhere in the sea of her melody. In memory of Sur Samrat Narayan Gopal, she performed his song Pokhiyera Ghamko Jhulko, which was applauded by the audience.

Recalling moments with Narayan Gopal, she said, “Narayan Gopal equally loved singers and artistes from outside Nepal as those from Nepal.”

Anju Devi explained that even in India, Nepali songs are highly appreciated. She added, “Nepali songs with sweet melodies get more space in India. To be popular, songs should eloquently depict the realities of life.”

She had first performed in Nepal in 1976. Comparing her present visit with her first visit to Nepal she said, “At that time I was an immature teenager — a happy girl with lots of dreams. But now I find myself a mature and a responsible ‘mother’.”

She said that the recording system of those days were different. “Now singers sing on tracks. I find recording system more mechanical now. The originality is lost because of such systems and the singer cannot immerse into the feelings because of such artificial means,” she said.

In the second half she presented songs like Shunyatako kalo andhero composed by Shanti Thatal. She also performed Dr Bhupen Hajarika’s composition Buku homm homm kare, the original of Dil hun hun kare made popular by Lata Mangeshkar. Devi presented a total of 14 songs at the programme.

A graduate in classical music from the Lucknow Uuniversity, she has been singing for the radio since 1970. She had also recorded a few songs in Nepali in 1976, during her first performance in Nepal.

She said that she shares a close bond with Nepal. “For me there is not much difference between Nepal and my home. Whenever I get an opportunity to perform in Nepal, I feel as if I am in my own country,” she shared.