Best of both worlds

Published On: July 20, 2018 07:14 AM NPT By: Swasti Gautam

With their YouTube instrumental cover of Despacito, the Skin and Bones team has been able to win many hearts not only in Nepal but all over the world as well. Their beautiful combination of guitar and ‘sarangi’ speak to the youth of Nepal who are rooted in their traditions as well as heavily influenced by the western society. 

Manish Gandarbha, who plays the ‘sarangi’ in the video, says that this was his attempt to preserve the traditional instrument that is unique to his community. “Gandarbhas are known for their beautiful music and their expertise in playing the ‘sarangi’. Sadly, ‘sarangi’ is now slowly losing its value within the community itself,” he says. Hence, he created this music video to preserve the value of ‘sarangi’ in Nepal and also make it known all over the world. 

Tuna Bell Thapa (or Dipendra Thapa), the guitarist of this instrumental cover, claims that he cannot imagine his world without music. He remembers watching Nepali pop songs for an hour in the morning before going to school and getting inspired by those artists. “My love for music began at a very young age. I always wanted to be like those pop stars that came to my television screen every morning,” he says. 

Both Gandarbha and Thapa are local artists who perform gigs at various restaurants and take part in local musical activities in the valley. Incidentally, they became friends through Facebook and many liked their beautiful duet that was a harmonious combination of eastern and western music.

“It’s fun to play with two kinds of music. We enjoy adding classical touch to popular western songs and use various instruments while doing so,” says Thapa. 

Gandarbha is also quite versatile and he can incorporate techniques used in other modern instruments while playing the ‘sarangi’. He makes modern tunes that are extremely difficult to play in traditional instruments seem very easy. 

You can only see influences of Bollywood in some of their instrumental music. According to the duo, the Nepali music industry has learnt a lot from Bollywood. That is why they thought of including a touch of Indian music in their covers. They believe Indian music is not only popular among people of Nepal and the rest of the world but the tunes have made an important contribution to the music industry of Nepal. 

Their latest music cover, which is a mashup of Cheap thrills, Shape of You and a song from the Bollywood movie, Dhoom, is also gaining popularity on YouTube. 

“We have tried to incorporate attractions of Bhaktapur such as its beautiful temples, juju dhau (sweetened curd), and the post-earthquake reconstruction process in this video,” says Gandarbha adding that along with promoting Nepali music they also want to promote tourism in Nepal through their videos. For the duo, music is a form of communication that anyone across the globe can understand and they wish to make full use of this platform. 

In the future, they intend to release their own instrumental music album that depicts the beauty of our country, and its culture and traditions in all its glory. 

What the duo is listening to?

Himalayan Highlands by Kutumba 
Kutumba band’s latest album, which is called the Himalayan Highlands, is one of my personal favorites. The music of this album is the outcome of Kutumba’s journey and research at the highlands of Scotland. This album beautifully represents Scottish music played with the help of traditional Nepali instruments. The highlands of Scotland are very similar to Nepal’s hills and topography. So this beautiful amalgamation of two kinds of music and traditions is very pleasing and inspirational. (MG)

Maya by Bipul Chettri 
This amazing album created by a Nepali folk singer and writer is one of my favorites. I like this song because it reflects our emotions and feelings very beautifully. As the name suggests, this album is about love and Chettri’s eternal affection towards the hills, which he calls home. For me, his songs are soulful and fulfilling. It’s very easy to get lost in his lyrics as they take you into an imaginary world of music. (TBT)

Touch Me There by Laxminarayan Shankar 
Laxminarayan Shankar is my idol and my inspiration. Whatever and wherever I’m today is all because of him. I owe everything to him. He is an amazing violinist, composer, and singer. His extensive work on traditional Indian music and jazz music is what makes him so different from others. ‘Touch Me There’ is the first solo album released by L. Shankar and it is an evergreen one. (MG)  

Hello Hurricane by Switchfoot 
This song depicts the various challenges that we face during different phases of our lives. This song shows how sometimes our dreams can turn into nightmares and we can lose everything at the blink of an eye. And that is where love and faith come into play. What I like the most about this song is that it tells us that life can take everything away from us but it cannot take our freedom to choose our own way. (TBT) 

Rangharu by Topi band 
This is a fantastic song by Topi band with an amazing concept and videography. The song shows how one may have to face failures in life to become stronger and understand the true meaning of success. I like this song because it also talks about the many battles that most of us face alone. But we choose to carry on, often with a smile on our faces, hiding our sorrows from the rest of the world. (MG)

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