Night is a folk musical group from Nepal. They have produced some extremely beautiful works based on Nepali folk music. Not only they have collected wonderful folk tunes, they have also been working on promoting and preserving instruments that are now on the verge of extinction.
Jason Kunwar is the male lead singer of the band. Setopati.com had mentioned him as a ‘guerrilla explorer’ of Nepali folk music. He is the composer of the band and its heart and soul. Along with singing, he also plays ‘bansuri’ (flute) and ‘sarangi’.
Sumnima (Mina) Singh is the female vocalist of the band. Her voice has been featured exclusively in the song ‘Kathor’ and the theme song for the epic historical movie ‘Jhola’. She has also sung for the band along with Jason Kunwar in most of the songs.
Shiva Kumar Bhattarai is an expert on ‘Paluwa’. He has been recently interviewed on the BBC Nepali Service.
The band has produced various songs which are gaining popularity on YouTube. The band’s debut album ‘Ani Ukali, Sangai Orali’ has made them much popular. They have also composed music for the Nepali movies ‘Chhadke’, ‘Jhola’ and ‘Suntali’.
Almost all the independent songs they have produced are folk-based and represent the pains of the economically poor people. The band explores various parts of Nepal, collects folk tunes and instruments. It is also promoting rare musical instruments through short documentary series ‘Know your Instruments’ on their YouTube channel and Live Concerts.
They have also recently represented Nepal at Shambhala Music Festival in August of 2015.
Before the festival, they were featured on an episode of Kripa Unplugged, a musical show on Terai TV. It was on this channel that I had first heard the band’s ‘Basai Bagayo’.
They also collaborated with A.R. Rahman on the occasion of International Peace Day to produce a musical tribute ‘Ot’.
Songs that have touched my heart
Basai Bagayo (aka Koshi)
This song is based on the floods of Sapta Koshi (“Sapta” means seven. There are seven main tributaries of the river- Arun, Tamor, Dudh Koshi, Sun Koshi, Tama Koshi, Indrawati and Likhu all flowing on the Eastern Nepal.) river in the year 2063 B.S. (2006 A.D.). The eastern dam of the river broke up in the night drowning hundreds of people, and their properties. Night captured the emotions of a victim and presented a beautiful song. The song begins with the sound of water artistically produced from a half-filled bucket. Words ‘hajur’ (in a sense of respect and hope) and ‘bara’ (in sense of helplessness) have been used eloquently to convey pain in the song. On the latter part of the song,
‘Baarud kini lyam na hajur, Chabi chorna jaam na hajur’
represent the anger towards the government who agreed to let India control the Barrage at Koshi River.
Tuina ko chha hai bhara
(Tuin(a) is a manually operated ropeway. You can see its structure and operation on the first part of this video: https://youtube.com/watch?v=sr_TLT_E7lg)
It is one of my favorite songs of all times. The song by Night is an artistic presentation of the current situation of our country. With the catchy ‘Jaam Jaam Kanchhi Jaam Jaam, Jaam Jaam Kanchhi Jaam Jaam’, the song is an urge for change, not just political but economical as well. The change in political scenario is presented as ‘Sakiyechaa bana bhoja, aba sahar’aa mana moja’ after the Maoists who confronted the government remaining in the forest and underground for ten years Later, when they came up on the government, leaders enjoyed themselves while those who fought for their lives were forgotten. Politicians call for ‘Naya (New) Nepal’ but our problems are still the same. The song and the music video inspires to come together for economic development although the overall lyrics is about the troubles Nepalese have faced.
Sun ko jutta
(Sun ko jutta = Golden Boots)
‘Chhaina topi siraima,
Bhokai Marlan Dheraima
Raat lai Maya, Ujyalo Chhaya
Mutu tinko dhungako,
Dar chha tinalai bhokako
Sun ko jutta jo lagauchhan
Ragat ko Butta banauchhan.’
This short and powerful song with a meaningful music video brings tears on my eyes every time. The death of a youth who goes to the Gulf to earn money leaves his parents hungry. The rulers on the other hand are keen on using the situation to rule longer. They have stoned hearts and they fear hunger. They wear boots of gold but play with the lives of the poor.
The music video presents the real picture of the helpless people of our country.
Within a short period of time, Night has gained popularity through it’s beautiful music combined with exceptionally powerful lyrics. These songs are not the ones that can be easily forgotten. That is the strength of Night and that can take our music from darkness to the light.
4. Night’s Official Facebook page, https://facebook.com/untothenight
5. Night’s YouTube channel, http//youtube.com/untothenight
6. Kripa Unplugged and its YouTube Channel.
7. Night’s official website: http://wearenight.com
[Note: The English translation of their songs are available on the blog of Night’s website.
Due to lack of ample data, I was unable to fetch the information on all the band members.]