January 22, 2019

Mending music

Mending music

He explored with varied approaches to sustain in music before starting up his own venture in 2010. A percussionist at heart, Kamal Subedi can strum the strings of guitar and equally hit right notes of Sarangi. Worked as an instrumentalist and a music trainer, he specializes in African Drum aka Djembe but finds him closer to folk and traditional instruments. An occasional jammer, he is currently into buying, selling and repairing musical instruments as a Luthier at Nepal Music Gallery, Lazimpat.

My City’s Sonam Lama talked to Subedi about his observation and experiences in promoting Nepali music.

How important is it maintaining musical instruments?

The maintenance of musical instruments as equally important as it is for us to own them. We still have an old practice of repairing instruments with whatever way we would like. Many people hardly realize that it takes right mediums and measures to do the repairing. You instruments need monthly servicing if you play them often. However, if you keep it stored, you may need to take some precautions from time to time. If you are music professional or have an idea on repairing, you could save time making it at home. Or else, taking to a luthier is always a good decision.

What kind of repairs do instruments need?

Oiling and coloring is one of the basic requirements that it needs. Since a cover is a shield protecting the instrument, it is a smart move to opt for a good cover in order to preserve it away from dust, rain, heat and ill-handlings. The strings should be kept away from rust. Many of the instruments require oiling. Before, traditional oils were highly applied for folk instruments however, there are a varieties if oils that we can get these days. There are different types of oils that go with different brass, wooden and metal instruments. Jasmine and lemonade oils are used for guitar. The oils are applied on the neck part and fret board. Likewise, the liquids are applied on machine heads.

How do you think folk music is grabbing space in Nepali market?

Although the demand for modern music higher, I feel folk music have its certain group of customers as it is in gradual rise. Nepali music has been professionalized in compared to older times. For instance: Playing Sarangi in the modern days is used for both folk and classical music. The wood and string quality varies from the older ones.

Where does the instrument come from that are available at your store?

Most of the guitars are highly imported from India and China. The folk instruments are made in Nepal. The demand for folk music in the international market is quite high. So, if we could establish a factory for the production of folk musical instruments, we could also promote the instruments within the country. Many instruments that are made in china are sold under ‘Made in Nepal’ tags. These instruments have quite a demand in the international market. If we could push additional efforts and establish a factory within the country, we could invite both financial and aesthetic benefits.

How do you think we can motivate youth towards folk music?

There are few schools that provide lessons on folk music. I think this is where we need to start from. When children learn the notes of guitar with Sarangi and violin with flute, it is then the fusion and importance of different music cross their minds. Learning variation in musical notes is significant to understand the true music.


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