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Profile | Lochan Rijal

He grew up in a village at Panchthar with no proper access to radio or television. His interest in music began when he descended from the hills to Biratnagar for his studies. Back then, he was in grade eight; he learnt the guitar while jamming with friends. However, he had not thought of ending up with music as a career. Lochan Rijal, who entered Nepali music with his first single Udveg in 2001— which he incorporated in his debut album— has maintained a constant position in the music industry till date.

As it might have been destined, his interest in music surprisingly stems out from his interest in local literature. “I had friends older than me and learnt much about local culture and dialects from them,” says Rijal, “I started penning down my experiences which I eventually tried to express through music.”

Rijal seriously took up music as a career after he joined the music programme at Kathmandu University. Nowadays, Rijal is busy with his doctorate research on ‘transmission of music’ under the ethno-musicology department.

His research focuses on the possibilities of cultural and folk music in Nepal, especially vocals, percussions and melody. He explains that the profundity of Nepali music captures him more and more as he delves into it.

Rijal shared his experience on the possibilities of Nepali music. “The major hindrance in Nepali music is that there is no proper standardisation of music instruments in the context of structure and harmony. Nepal doesn’t have a good database on music, or a good formal education on the subject,” he says. Rijal sees that most talented newcomers aren’t taking up music as a career; rather, it is more of a passion for them. This stems from the difficulty to survive in this field. But he believes that struggle and hard work are necessary.

Rijal believes that he has been lucky to be appreciated from the beginning of his career. But the uncertainty that he mentioned about musicians here still looms within him. Nevertheless, without entering a fragile situation, goals are never realised. “The struggle for each album brings the need for further improvisations. Maanis (his second album) has made me content as a lot of effort was put into it,” he shares.

Rijal, after trying his hands at the guitar, drums, tabla and the dhime, now plays the sarangi. Rijal picked up a sarangi first when he was at the University of Massachusetts in the US and his interest in ethnic music got him learning it through self practice. “The music I make while playing the sarangi is one of free expression. I still need to decipher the traditional style of the sarangi played by the Gandharvas.”

Rijal believes in adopting Nepali music with Western instruments and creating fresh tunes for listeners. “The next time I will come up with contemporary music fused with local elements,” he shares, leaving us to look forward to his future delights.

Source: ekantipur.com

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