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The Original Duo: Rise of the Phoenix
Be it the patriotic ‘Yo Mann Ta Mero Nepali Ho’, or the romantic ballads like ‘Parelima’, and ‘Chudaina Timro Maya Le’, 1974 AD, in their prime, was an unstopable force to reckon with. Even to this day, a diverse age-group relish the grooves of the band’s evergreen compositions, consequently contributing in recognizing a unique legacy spanning over two decades. However, while still in their prime, the band’s founding member and the lead vocalist, Phiroj Shyangden, called it quits.
Away from the fame in Nepal, Shyangden chose a quieter life in the USA. Still, he didn’t let his admirers feel his absence from the musical realm. He took it as a moral duty to upload covers and original content and stay connected via social platforms with his fans. His regular engagement with the fans back home kept them reasonably content.
In the due course, he gave continuity to his musical journey by performing in smaller gigs, most notably in Himalayan Yak -- a Nepali restaurant in New York, Jackson Heights. “There’s a vast difference between playing a small gig in a bar, and in major venues. Still, playing in small gigs is equally tough. You have to look at it from a completely commercial point of view,” Shyangden explained.
In Shyangden’s absence, Adrian Pradhan took in on him to fill in as a full-time vocalist for 1974 AD to keep the thrill still alive. But eventually, even Pradhan decided to walk off into the sunset, to focus solely on his solo career. It was then that the audiences started realizing the void.
Addressing the complaints of the band’s admirers, Adrian explained that it was just that the fans missed hearing the original voices. “The fans always admired the old lineup.” He further explained the roles of the band members, “Phiroj Shyangden was the backbone of the band. His collaboration with Nirakar dai while penning songs was also commendable. I used to justify their lyrics with my voice. Manoj KC also brilliantly showcased his versatility with his guitar playing. We can’t forget the contributions of Manose Singh on bansuri either,” he added.
The singer also stated that when bands change their lead singers, they start losing the charm they once had. He added, “Instruments can be replaced, but voices can’t.”
Even after the separation, spanning close to a decade, the front men still miss their glorious past with 1974 AD. Phiroj explained that the band had stuck together through thick and thin for a very long period. “I had lots of fun with my 1974 buddies.” Speaking on behalf of Adrian, he added, “We miss them a lot. It’s been a long time that we haven’t performed together. Maybe time and circumstances are to blame.”
Shyangden has nothing but praises for his former band. He appreciates the roles of the newbies in the new 1974 AD lineup. He stated, “With new vocalists, they sound energetic. They have their own charm.”
The front men unite
It officially began again in 2016. When Adrian Pradhan sang his English lines of ‘Samji Baschu’, it took him back to his past. “I was taken back to our first gig. There too, I first sang the English version of Samjhi Baschu. The experience was nostalgic,” Pradhan shared. He further added, “The Original Duo is synonymous to 1974 AD. We hope to present the same energy and vibe together.”
To fill a void caused after the duo left Nepal’s leading rock band, Shyangden and Pradhan agreed on collaborating at the end of 2015. Their decision led to the formation of The Original Duo. Prior to their reunion, the duo had not shared the same stage since 2012. Besides the former 1974 AD members, the Original Duo also features Aman Shahi on guitar, Sujit Shahi on the bass and Sudhan Raj Bajcharya on the drums.
Their first tour – of the US -- was a massive success. It gave the original duo additional strength and rekindled hopes of further collaborative gigs. Eventually, they set out on a tour of the UK, then of several cities in Nepal. At present, The Original Duo is touring Australia and is set to return to Nepal soon.
However, The Original Duo is currently only limited to performing their past hits. However, contemplating the fact that their admirers are desperately waiting to for their new materials, they produced their first single. -- ‘Mero Samjhanaley’.