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INTERVIEW SITU KHAREL

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What a foolish thing it is to be governed by a desire for fame and profit and to fret away one's whole life without a moment of peace" - Kenko Yoshida.

 

I very much relate to the above saying and somehow have a feeling that singer Situ Kharel some what share the same sentiment as she is not interested in doing commercial music and in this interview, she clearly explains that music for her is for self satisfaction. She started music in 1992 after getting married and having a baby in London. She explains she never had time to think about herself and music while she was young and unmarried. She released her first album 'Smarika' in 1999. After two years she came up with her second album 'Simrik'. Then in 2003 she came up with her third venture 'Pari' and in 2005 she came up with her fourth album, the critically highly acclaimed 'Nirmann'. Since the singer in focus is based in London, her albums have not done well commercially as much as they would have, had she been here to promote them. Now that she is in town on her well deserved vacation, we caught up with her for an exclusive little chat. Lets hear what the singer has to share with us.

 

You have just arrived from London, anything special reason that brought you here?

 

Nothing special as such, I'm just here for my vacation of two months. I'll be meeting my relatives and spending some time with them and will also be collecting some musical instruments like the harmonium and tabala to take along with me when I return.

 

Lately, what have you been doing back in London?

 

I'm doing my Masters Degree in Indian Classical Music from 'Trinity School of Music'. They teach music in association with 'Bharatiya Vidhya Bhawan'. They have just started this course...a four year degree program for the first time.

 

What is your major subject?

 

My principal subject is vocals and secondary subjects are Tabala and Harmonium. Though my major subject is vocals, they teach us everything about music. We are trained to be a complete musician not only a singer. We have to study about both North and South Indian music.

 

How is life there in London?

 

People are rather busy and generally they are only concerned with their families. Nobody has time for others. Initially I didn't like the environment and always thought about coming back but slowly I started getting used to with the things around. Now I don't have any problems. Since people are busy there we can concentrate more on our work and moreover, I have my music lessons so I concentrate more on my classes. There are less chances of your mind getting diverted with different things. We celebrate a lot of festivals like Dashin, Diwali, Christmas you name it. These days I don't have difficulties staying there also because I keep on coming to Nepal back and forth. But I'm happy that I can concentrate more on my music there whereas here, there would be a lot of distractions!

 

Do you mean people here can't concentrate in their work because of numerous social responsibilities?

It may not be true for everybody but for me it is.

 

I have a feeling that you mean women have more responsibilities and can't concentrate on their work much and hence, one of the obstacles towards success. Am I mistaken here?

It's true that a woman has more responsibilities and boundaries that they have to constantly think of in our Nepali context and that might be one of the reasons why they have difficulties in achieving what they want!

 

Do you think you might have done better or been more successful if you were a male singer as you tend to have 'less boundaries'?

 

Personally, I didn't feel that because I started music much later, when I didn't have any boundaries but a lot of support from all quarters. I came into music after I got married and after I had children and a family. I may have faced some difficulties if I had started much earlier. Talking about success, it differs how one defines it. As far as I'm concerned whatever I'm learning at the moment or in the past itself is a success for me. I believe devotion and sincerity in music is the most important thing.

 

 

Your father Kalyan Rimal and mother Biju Rimal are singers and musicians and your father in law Kiran Kharel is also a famous lyricist, this explains your interest in music to some extent. Any other reasons for taking up music professionally?

 

My story is similar to many who have entered the music scene! Since I was a kid there was a musical environment in my home. My dad and mom practicing their raga might have influenced me and remained with me. The interest was deep inside and it only came out when I got married and got tremendous encouragement from my husband's family. I feel there is nothing you can't do if you have the will power. Sometimes I feel that I started late but these days our industry is growing and listeners are able to judge and are very much aware so whatever happens, happens for the good!

 

 

How has the response been for your music so far?

 

People started knowing me from my first album 'Smarika'. I must say that I was immature at that time. I realized I needed to learn music seriously. So I started learning. I was learning and doing albums simultaneously and a remarkable change after learning music was very much evident. The musicians that I worked with told me that there was a lot of difference in my vocal capabilities. I've since been receiving good feedbacks.

 

Your husband 'Suman Kharel' being in media must have helped you a lot!

 

Indeed it helped me. I didn't have to do anything. I have to make my rounds for promotions myself though nut it was all my husband who did them most of the time. My husband has been a great help and support in my musical career.

 

What is music for you?

 

When I started classical music only then did I start knowing what music was. While I was doing my diploma in music, I just used to sing. Now, along with the singing we are supposed to know the history and everything about music. My perspective of music has changed. Music to me now is 'Sadhana' and it will always remain so.

 

Any special reason for working with musician Nyhoo Bajracharya and lyricist Durga Lal Shrestha in your last album 'Nirmann'?

 

I had been singing to Nyhoo Bajrachary's music since my first album itself. I was very much impressed by Durga Lal Shrestha's lyrics on my third album so I wanted to work with both of them on my fourth venture 'Nirmann'. But I was not very sure whether Durga Lal Shrestha would like to work with me or not. He agreed! I wanted to do love songs which didn't carry flashy words. So we sat together and did the album 'Nirmann'.

 

We've heard people saying that songs on your album 'Nirmann' sound very much like Ani Choing Dolma. Is it because of working with the same musician and lyricist or was it intentional?

 

I think it depends upon the music composer how he wants the song to sound like. Nyhoo Bajracharya has his own style and flavor. He knows exactly what he wants. I always followed his instructions while singing and this is very clearly reflected in my songs.

 

Why are you not singing commercial songs?

 

I like to sing songs which give me satisfaction. I don't want to go commercial and I think I don’t need to.

 

What is the most beautiful thing that you've experienced in your life?

 

Well! When I see my daughter speaking through her eyes I fell so happy. (she doesn't speaks). I forget everything and all my tiredness when I see her smiling. Also when I practice the raaga I get completely lost and it gives me an amazing satisfaction. These are small but beautiful things.

 

What do you do during your 'fursad'?

 

I'm on my vacation at the moment and frankly, this is my only 'fursad' time. Otherwise I have to practice music six hours a day and other matters take the rest of the time. I intend to enjoy my vacation while it lasts.

 

 

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