“आज परेको झरी ले ……….”

‘Jhari’, a new song that captures the memory of a father and son’s journey is being released soon. This heart touching song is penned by Biren Suwal Singh. He describes this song to be very personal and close to his heart. He has collaborated with the versatile musician and composer, Bijay Ahikari. Ashish Singh did the arrangement, Bishwo Harsha Bajracharya did the graphics for the video and Jay Harper did the mixing/mastering.

I caught up with Biren dai after a long time and after seeing his post on Facebook about this new upcoming release. I have always known him as a passionate musician while we both lived in Chicago. He played drums with a local Nepalese Chicago band called Chi-Town Band.

Besides being a talented musician, Biren dai is a community leader, social worker, a friend, family man, and is also someone whom we look up to for guidance. Here is our short conversation about his start in the USA, family, friends and musical journey.

Biren dai, Just came to know that you are releasing your new song JHARI. Didn’t know you wrote too until recent days; I have only seen you play drums and percussion? 
Hello hello, what a pleasant call. Been a while, Kiran bhai. (Laughs) I didn’t know either. I wrote my first song about six/seven years ago on a flight to Boston and sent it to a friend of mine. You must have guessed who. Well, we will talk about it more when the song is ready. Anyways, he loved the song so much that he did a rough melody and sent it to me in just a couple of days. Though that one is still in the making, this encouraged me a great deal and made me believe that I can be creative in writing songs.

Very interesting dai. Now could you please tell us about your current project Jhari, a song really close to your heart?
(deep breath) This song is about a dad and son’s journey. 2020 has been a very rough year and caused headaches, loss, and pain for people in many ways. For me it’s been the saddest year so far as I lost my father in the beginning of the year. This song is very special and close to my heart.

“It’s not possible to put together one’s 50+ years’ story in 5 mins but tried to express some of the journey with my father and share with you all through this song.”

I feel that many kids who are away from their parents and/or lost them will be able to relate to this creation. And the fathers whose kids are far away would be able to relate as well, I think.
(Pause) I wish to release the song in about two weeks on the one year death anniversary of my dad, but we don’t want to rush and compromise the quality. Everyone has worked hard on this collaboration and I don’t want to release anything less than one envisioned. You know Bijay Adhikari, he did a fantastic job in composing and singing it. His left-hand guitar work needs no elaboration, it’s impeccable I would say. My nephew Ashish Singh arranged it and did an amazing job on the piano. Bishwo Harsha Bajracharya lent his artistry to make my concept come to life in the video. His artwork is unbelievably magical. I wanted to take a different approach through artwork to narrate the lyrics and in the meantime not overwhelm the listeners like with typical/dramatic music videos, so that they can actually listen to the song. The thought process behind this video is to allow the listeners to feel the song and to traverse through the journey without much distraction; simplicity is my take here. Last but not the least, Jay Harper did a splendid job in playing the drums and mastering the final mix. I would like to take a moment to thank these extremely talented guys from the bottom of my heart.

Dai I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure wherever your dad is, he would be very proud of your creativity. I must ask how the song came to you?
Thanks brother, I appreciate it! His soul is always with me. I have lived away from home for many years since my engineering days. Yet he has always been with me in spirit, I still feel the same way. Sorry for taking you down my emotional memory lane.

Though the song is a bit on a sad note, it encompasses many happy memories. Actually, I wrote this almost about two years ago. Dad wasn’t feeling well during that time and I had been receiving concerning calls from my brother. One of those days, I was in Miami for work, and alone in the hotel room. You know how Miami rain is, it was raining very hard that night. I was lonely, away from family and just had to call back home. (pause)

There you go, the rain coming down hard and pounding on the windows, along with two margaritas I had with dinner might have done the magic.(laughs)
I texted the song to Bijay and within a few minutes he sent me the melody, that’s how it started taking shape. Then in the next few days I sent him my idea for the verse, and he sent his. We liked both and decided to put both of our melodies in the song. I am extremely happy with our collaboration and it gives a bit of a different flavor from the traditional Nepali song compositions. Hope you and other listeners will like it.

It’s pretty fascinating how songs come to life. I can’t wait to listen to it dai. Now little about yourself dai, besides being a musical person what else do you do? How did you end up in Chicago?
I came to the US in 1995 to do my Masters in Computer Science. Started my life in this country from NY. Due to the job and other challenges, and to be close with the family, we moved to Chicago in 2001. Lived there till 2011 and you guys decided to kick me out . I have been living in Denver since. Besides music, my other hobbies are gardening, artwork, cooking (especially ethnic varieties). Hiking and camping are outdoors activities I love to do – weather permitting. And who doesn’t sing after a few. (laughs)

About the music, how many have you released with this group?
Well, Bijay and I recently released “Ishwor ko Bardaan”. Immensely talented Bikram Baral (Nepal Idol Season 2 Runner-up) sang it and Gopal Rasailli did the music/arrangement. We have few more in the making, let’s see where time takes us.

Bijay is a good friend and an extremely talented artist. I had an opportunity to host him a couple of times in Chicago. It was pure joy to watch him play and sing on stage. What quality does he bring to this group?
After I moved to Denver, Bijay and I met while working on a show to pay tribute to great Phatteman Rajbhandari. We clicked right away and since then we have been playing many shows including Om Bikram Bista tribute/fundraising in Chicago that you helped organize not that long ago. Bijay is obviously a seasoned musician and extremely talented. What he brings to the table is his willingness to work with my ideas. Although I am not professionally trained, being in the music field for so long, I come up with some ideas now and then. He gladly listens, embraces and works around it. We are quite open in our opinions too but again it’s a collaboration after all right? Also like to add that our two families have a very good rapport on the personal level as well.

What’s next dai? Will we see you playing drums again? When will you come hangout with us and jam with the Chi-town band?
Oh man, Chi-Town band and you guys are so dear. I would love to come down and hang out in a heartbeat. Actually, I might drive by Chicago around May/June, let’s see how that works out. Music is my best friend, so any opportunity I get, I jump on it right away to hit those leathers. I’m sure we’ll do some shows in the future, if not we’ll have a basement jam session. What say?

It’s always a pleasure to talk to you Biren dai. Thank you for your time. I wish you and family a good health and look forward to the release of the song.
Thank you. I wish you good luck with your analog (vinyl) projects via Wild Yak Records. Stay Safe and hello to your beautiful family.

Here is the promo for your quick view.

Interview by: Kiran Byanjankar (Wild Yak Records)
Artwork: Bishwo Harsha Bajracharya

#nepalimusic #interview #art #music #wildyakrecords
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