Dikshya Karki travels in her thoughts with Night through their maddeningly beautiful music I n less than a decade since they first came together, Night has successfully become an exceptional name in the Nepali music scene. "We started as a metal band. But as we travelled around the country, we discovered folk music," recalls Jason Kunwar. You might describe Night as seekers -- seekers of music echoing in the mountains, villages, plains and valleys of Nepal.
The band came to its present form in 2012 with Jason Kunwar, Niraj Shakya, Mina (Sumnima) Singh, Birat Basnet, Sudhir Acharya and Shiva Kumar Khatri as its members. Since then Night has travelled a long way. "We initially wanted to fuse folk music with metal. But we realised that folk music was good in its raw form itself, so we stuck to that," says Jason.
Night is the first Nepali band to perform at the Shambala Music Festival -- hosted in one of the most beautiful festival venues on earth, the wild of interior British Columbia. The band has performed in many other countries. Individually, the members compose music for movies. Jason had also collaborated with the famed AR Rahman to produce a musical tribute on International Peace Day. They also provide free music lessons for young enthusiasts which is funded through 15-20 per cent of their concert fees. Through their YouTube short documentary series, Know Your Instrument they aim to reintroduce traditional instruments to the new generation.
Fresh off the release of their second album, Night is now preparing to represent Nepal at the World Music Expo (WOMEX), the biggest conference in the world music industry. It is set to take place in Poland this year from October 25-October 29.
But before they were performing in front of huge audience, the band members were ordinary people with extraordinary dreams. "My brother has been my source of inspiration," says Birat, "I used to listen to him play his guitar till wee hours. I then realised how hard I would have to work if I wanted to play as well as he does." For Niraj, it was his mother who encouraged him to take up music, he says, "My mother had always been interested in music and this fuelled my interest further. She was the one who encouraged me to pursue what I love." Night has released many numbers over the years, the most popular ones being Kathor, Tuina Ko Chha Hai Bhara, Basai Bagayo, Sunko Jutta and Putali Ko Bhesh Barilai and two studio albums Ani Ukali Sangai Orali (2014) and Jhalka Raya Buka (2017).
Their music, which is mostly inspired from their travels to the most remote parts of Nepal, moves fluidly between pain and ecstasy in that they project the sadness of their surroundings through the most lyrical compositions. Sarangi (string instrument), Maadal (drum), Bansuri (flute), Murchunga (harp), Nagara (drum), Dhimey (drum), Tungna (string instrument) and Paluwa (leaf) are some instruments that Night frequently serenade their audience with. Indeed the unique world Night creates with their music is unmatched.
"We research on traditional instruments that are on the verge of extinction such as Piwancha (Newari instrument) THE BACKSTORY Night is tight. The band explores their individual style and combines it with a fusion of instruments being played in such a way that each instrument finds its best sound. The magic happens when a group of people who clearly enjoy playing together, play together. A lot of unusual and exciting musical ideas arise simply from these people having a royally great time, trusting each other, taking risks and having a good laugh while they are at it.
2012: Present members of the band came together 2014: Night's first album, Ani Ukali Sangai Orali, is released 2015: Night is the first Nepali band to perform at 'Shambala Music Festival' 2016: Night goes on their second UK tour with the 'Making Tracks Festival Circuit' 2017: Night releases their second album, Jhalka Raya Buka Night set to represent Nepal at WOMEX Chatkauli, Pilru, Kastaar (Tharu instruments)and Mahali. We learn not only how to play these instruments but also how to make them ourselves," says Kunwar.
"Music is a part of where we come from. It is embedded in our culture. Everyone would sing as they worked in the fields. That is where I picked it up from," reminisces Shiva.
"It is not about trying to be different from others. As artistes, we are still trying to build a strong foundation for ourselves. We always try to focus on what we love doing and share our experience through music," says Jason.
Give Night a listen. Experience the tingles that start in your stomach and vibrate through your veins because we only come across artistes who give life to music once in a blue moon..