KathmanduNovember 9th, 2006
Back in the big city, we rehearse and scout for studios to record a CD that will capture the best songs that we think show the similarities between Appalachian and Himalayan folk music. No small task, since drums are rare in Appalachian music and Nepalis don’t use pickup notes; everything starts on the downbeat. There are all sorts of tempo issues which make multi-track recording a challenge. And of course there’s keeping the atmosphere relaxed. But so far so good. The gear has more or less survived the rattling of three weeks in a van and we eventually decide on a hotel room that is relatively quiet.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. There’s songs to be learned. The songs that both Nepalis and Americans can recognize, even if the tune comes from some backwoods halfway across the world, where people might be Buddhist instead of Baptist. Where the civil war might refer to something else entirely. But there’s something in the a few of the songs that is mysteriously connected. Here’s Danny and Buddhiman playing a few licks from a tune called Paina Coppara, or “No News from You.”
A surprise our first few days back: Akal and his wife show up at my guest house. She’s going to get that finger amputated, and is short on cash. We need to test out a studio space, so I tell Akal if he plays a few songs with us, I’ll cover the operation. A strange arrangement to be sure, but he sings us this song, about a boy and a girl, while his wife pulls rosin from a tree in the compound of Green Productions, Monga’s friend’s studio. Here’s a link to some Nepali pop music that Neeraz and friends produce there.
I’m off to Lamjung again this weekend with the talented Mr. Buddhiman, but I promise to put more photos, music, and maybe some video up real soon. So check these last few updates again next week and there’ll be a few gems to brighten your day…