Bipul Chettri back in Kathmandu
In September, American producer and DJ Diplo and Danish singer/songwriter star MØ released a music video with Nepali singer-songwriter Bipul Chettri and rapper Laure. ‘Stay Open’ has already got 9.4 million views in YouTube. Now, Bipul Chettri, Laure, Diplo and others, are bringing a one-of-a-kind concert to Kathmandu on 17 November. Nepali Times spoke with Bipul Chhetri about his arrival in Kathmandu for the concert. Excerpts:
Nepali Times: Are you happy with your musical journey so far?
Bipul Chettri: Music for me is a tool to express my thoughts and emotions. My journey has only just begun, and I am still learning and progressing. Satisfaction comes with every new song or tune, so I am quite content.
Which of your recent overseas gigs stands out for you?
I speak for most musicians when I say performing live is special, no matter where you are. But there are some venues, like the SSE Arena at Wembley, which are on bucket lists for artists. Especially since most of the people who have played at such venues are icons one has grown up listening to, and have been huge influences in shaping our musical expressions.
The Nepali audience is fragmented, yet your music seems to appeal to everyone. What is the secret?
I cannot fathom what the secret is but if I can guess: it has to be the feeling of home that the diaspora audience misses. The music may help them escape the foreignness, even if for a brief moment.
How did the Stay Open collaboration with Laure, Diplo and MØ happen?
The song was already composed by Diplo and sung by MØ. Tuborg provided a set of guidelines to follow in terms of space and lyrics to add Nepali perspective to the tune without actually taking away from the melody and theme of the song. We accepted the project so that we could understand and experience how international artists worked. It was a great learning experience for all of us.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlxoTk68CxU
How do you see the scope and prospect of folk songs in the Nepali-speaking diaspora?
Nepali music listeners are very active and informed in the age of the Internet. Content is available at the click of a button, and people are now exposed to more music than ever before. The chance of Nepali music being heard is greatest now, be it folk or any other genre. It may be too early to say if Tuborg Stay Open helps create an image for Nepali music, but I think it is a stepping-stone for local musicians to test the waters for an international audience. Most Latin music that we know and hear, have actually come out of these kinds of associations.
How difficult is it to mix and market music in Nepal and India separately?
Music is not a brick and mortar business like it used to be, when tapes or CDs were the only way to acquire music. Physical borders no longer matter, any content one uploads to an online platform is available to everyone in Nepal, India or the world. But being an independent artist is the real challenge as everything ends up being a DIY project, which in a way is fun and exciting but it does bog one down with compromises along the way.
Can you tell us about your day job?
I do have a day job as head of the Arts Department at a school here in Delhi, and I teach western classical guitar to children aged 6-18.
What’s next for Bipul Chettri?
We are currently recording some new material and we hope to release it by first half of 2019, not sure how many songs.
Tuborg Open Fest
17 November, 4-10pm
Hotel Annapurna, Darbar Marg
Tickets: tktmonkeys.com, (01) 4444428
Read also: Calling home, Sunir Pandey
The sound of our soul, Ayesha Shakya