1-7 September 2017 #874

Sweet original sessions

Raw, intimate and candid, online video series Yomari Sessions is back with a new season
Sahina Shrestha

Katha Haru

On a lazy afternoon earlier this week, members of the contemporary folk band MiKu trickled in to Katha Haru’s studio in Dhobighat. As they settled in, the production team joined them for a screening of their performance recorded in July. The silence was punctured by whispers of lyrics and occasional jabs as members appeared on screen.

The band, Kobid Bazra (sarangi), Samyog Regmi (guitar), Pushpa Palanchoke (vocals), Riken Maharjan (bass), Bikesh Bazra (nagara) and Merit Maharjan (sound effects/percussion) will open the new season of the unique web series Yomari Sessions on 6 September. Organisers say this year's series will be bigger and better with a new episode every week.

Started by production company Katha Haru, the first season featured performances by Shreeti and Baaja, Stairs of Cirith, Flekke, Sakchyam and Abhyu with Stairs of Cirith’s ‘Raktim’ generating over 65,000 hits online.

“When we browse the web, there is a lot of focus on covers and while they do tend to get more audience, we felt the need of providing a platform to deserving artists where they can showcase their original music,” says Katha Haru Director of Photography Rocky Prajapati.

What emerged was an amalgamation of raw and candid music across a variety of genres, a quality that spiked the popularity of the first season. Each video of Yomari Sessions is a live, one-take recording where artists perform an improvised version of their original compositions.

“When you record a song in multiple takes any song can sound good. But what we wanted to show was that there are really good musicians in Nepal who can produce good music,” says Creative Director Shashank Shrestha. “We wanted to provide a platform for really good independent artists to show an undiluted one-take version of their performance,” he adds.

Says Kobid Bazra of MiKu: “For new bands like MiKu, performing live is an opportunity to get more people interested in our music, and working with Yomari was fun.” The new season will feature original scores from bands Miku, Pahelo Batti Muni, Ember Eyes, Manda: and Space. Departing from the indoor setting and black and white muted videos of season one, this year will see the bands performing in locations around Kathmandu Valley.

Katha Haru

“The idea is to give the audience the raw and intimate experience of a live musical performance,” says Suyog Shrestha, CEO of Katha Haru. “When you watch a live performance you get to see the way the band interacts with each other and the instruments, and that is an experience we are trying to emulate in this season.”

Not sponsored or supported by any big brands, Katha Haru is adamant about controlling the creative space. Prajapati says music is all that matters at the end of the day, “The music has to be good and has to connect with everyone.”

As of now, the bands featured aren’t paid but can use the recordings from their session. “Yomari Sessions is a unique platform for the bands. Since both the audio and video is recorded simultaneously, the bands really have to be professional,” says Prabin Maharjan, manager of MiKu.

Yomari comes as a breath of fresh air, and a much needed stage for the burgeoning indie music scene in Nepal. Producers and artists say they’re expecting more audience engagement this year.

Says Shashank Shrestha: “There is a scene for emerging musicians and it is the same 100 people going to all the concerts. If we can at least open up the market and spotlight these musicians, I think we’ll have achieved a lot.”

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