Give a two-year-old a pair of drumsticks and you can be sure he won’t do anything more than create incessant noise with it. What you would never expect him to do is play the drums with it. But ten-year-old Utprem Jojiju has been performing in live stages since he was two, and that makes him the youngest professional drummer in Nepal so far. The talented kid shyly admits that he doesn’t remember what drove him to play the drums for the first time. He just remembers enjoying it.
Born in a family with a strong musical background, Utprem has always been surrounded by music. His parents, Binit and Sanu Jojiju, are professional musicians who have been running a music school from their home for many years now. They teach aspiring musicians to play the drums, guitar, Madal, and harmonium. When the sound of rehearsals traveled through the rooms, Utprem would often crawl towards the drums. He also used to collect sticks and hammered on any surface he could find. These signs, his parents confess, were enough for them to understand that drums fascinated their child.
Utprem’s father, Binit, then took to teaching him to play the instrument. While teaching his son, he quickly realized that Utprem was already blessed with skills that people normally take years to master. His timing and ability to create a coherent rhythm were as good as others who had been learning to play the instrument for a long time. Encouraged by this, Binit started teaching him more and more. He even gave his son a special drum for his size and, with regular practice, in 2010, he was able to give his first public live performance along with his father in front of a huge crowd where the mayor of Pokhara was also present.
“As a mother, letting my child go on stage when he was that small wasn’t easy. I was scared that those sticks would hurt him or the crowd would make him nervous. But, to my surprise, he didn’t seem bothered at all and actually enjoyed it,” says Sanu.
It was after this performance that Binit realized his son was already at a stage where he now needed advanced training from a professional instructor. In the meanwhile, he also organized stage shows and functions to let little Utprem perform in front of different kinds of people. Binit felt this would bolster Utprem’s confidence as well as get people to appreciate his talents. And surely, Utprem’s knack with the drums got people talking. He became a regular face on TV and online. Now, he has even released his own album.
Utprem holds an Everest World Record, a Wonder Record, and a Unique World Record for being the youngest drummer in the world to perform live. He has also been nominated for the Guinness World Records. However, the enlistment is not confirmed yet. The Nepal government has also honored Utprem with various titles and trophies. He has been awarded a full scholarship at his school and is entitled to free treatments at a hospital in Pokhara.
Utprem’s mother says that her child is now an inspiration for many. He stands as testimony to the fact that age is no bar if you are talented and truly passionate about something. Also Sanu feels that as parents one has to give their child the right environment where they can pursue their passion. Because of Uptrem, many Montessori and primary schools in Pokhara have started including instrumental music as a special program under their extracurricular activities.
Utprem, who is inspired by Mike Portnoy, an American drummer, has now mastered other instruments like piano, guitar, and Madal as well. The little boy says he wants to pursue music and make a career in it when he grows up. And even his parents seem to encourage the idea.
“We have never pressured him to do anything. Where playing drums is concerned, he had a knack for it and we only helped him explore it further. In the future too, we want to support him in whatever he wants to do,” concludes Binit.