Ozomatli in Nepal: Music Makes You Loose Control!

By Dinesh Wagle

Wagle Street Journal. Saturday Edition All pics by Wagle. [नेपालीमा यहाँ छ: ओ ए बेबी, ओ ए मामा]

Wil-Dog Abers: Hami Ozomatli Los Angeles Bata!

Oh… Khulamanch (open air theater) what a fate you have! A day before Valentine’s Day, you hosted a spectacular show titled Huge Mass Meeting in which a formerly terrorist outfit that is now days away from joining the government made public its leader after 25 years of underground politics. Other than the almost two hour long speech of Comrade Prachanda, the Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) Chairman, the program saw international communist song and other pro-people songs performed by former guerillas. Three days after that historic day, another history was made in Khulamanch when an award winning American band performed, probably for the first time, in a vibrant concert that was organized by the diplomatic mission that still thinks the Maoists are the terrorists. I am sure this equation will soon change but, after taking part in both events, here is my impression: People limited themselves in clapping in the previous event where as participants danced, screamed, sang, hummed, and, what not. After all, musical concerts are always more lively and fascinating compared to the political gatherings all over the world.

Justin Poree: The Dhaka Topi theto!

Multiethnic Los Angeles band Ozomatli is in town under the auspices of American Center in Kathmandu and USAID/Nepal. It was definitely a wonderful opportunity for the roaring crowd of Kathmandu youth to be in Khulamanch today to be part of Ozomatli performance. With the sharp words of “music makes you loose control” from loud speakers appeared the band members on the stage. “Hoie,” the crowd welcomed them. “Justin Poree, who had tightly covered his curly hairs with a slightly (and apparently intentionally) torn dhaka topi (traditional nepali cap) grabbed the mike and started singing “City of Angels.” Wil-Dog Abers wanted to introduce his band to the Nepali crowd in their language: “Hami Ozomatli Los Angeles Bata! [We Ozomatli from Los Angeles]” That was a pleasant surprise to hear him introduce the band that way. Yesterday, I had taught him the sentence and he learnt that well. Are you enjoying Cat Man Do? The answer from the crowd was loud and clear: Yeeesssssssss!! To be among the crowd at that moment was indeed an electrifying experience.

No I don’t know who is she and I didn’t ask as she was behind that fence and was dancing in her own world. My camera tried to catch her in various musical moods.


I could easily sense that the American Center in Kathmandu had associated the smooth organizing of the program with their prestige. Sometime the crowd turns ugly but there was no such problem of hurling bottles and stones on the stage today. Boys and girls were too busy in dancing to do any such things. And Robert Hugins, the director of the American Center in Kathmandu, was enjoying the concert thoroughly. Clad in jeans and cap, he reminded me of the American image of cowboy. In a quick conversation, the 53-year-ld American remembered his youthful days when he used to go to open concerts like this with his friends. “I used to go when I was young,” he said. “Hanging out with friends. If you like music, you want to attend the concert of your favorite band.” He remembered attending a musical event with his nephew some two years ago.

She is Mandira Thapa, a member of Rotaract Club of Dillibazar. She was with her friends Anisha, Sanju, Manju (did I hear that?) et al. These girls (below) were having a blast in the concert.

These folks are from the same Rotoract Club. They were carrying each other on their shoulders turn by turn and were dancing. In the photo above, 22-year-old Ameer Banjara is seen carrying 21-year-old Prabodh Pandit on his shoulder. In the photo below, Prabodh shoulders Ameer. Yes, it was slightly difficult to dace while carrying a person on shoulder but they were having fun.

17-year-old Rabindra Sapkota, originally from Hetauda and a student of Amrit Science College (ASCOLL) was in Tundikhel with his friend. “Good,” he said hurriedly as he was busy in dancing. “I danced a lot.”

Capturing the crowd in her camera!

Not just the boys and girls but the organizers were dancing too. Reporters and representatives of FMs and TVs were also dancing in the tunes of Ozomatli. “Everybody put your hands up!” The musical order from the state was sincerely obeyed by the crowd. The crowd was waiving hands and Tundikhel became full of hands. “Sing with us,” was the request from the stage. “Oh Eh Baby!” The crowd roared: “Oh Eh Baby!” The band sang: “Oh Eh Mamma!” The crowd repeated: “Oh Eh Mamma!” Let me not pretend of understanding everything they sang. Catching them singing English was difficult; there was no way the crowd could get the Spanish song. But hey, do you really need to know the language to get hold of the music? Don’t they say music itself is a language, an international one? Yes, the crowd was thinking the same. 22-year-old Ameer Banjara was holding 21-year-old Prabodh Pandit on his shoulder and both were dancing. A minute ago, Prabodh was holding Ameer on his shoulder. “Ozomatli is the best,” screamed a super excited Prabodh. “Ekdum daami,” remarked an enthusiastic Ameer about the concert. “Jhakas.” [Very worthy of attending and it’s colorful.]

If the performers are from a Monkey Band (the meaning of Ozomatli), why not the audiences do some adventure?

Policemen (below) and security guards worked hard and smart to put the super excited audience away from crossing the fence. The crowd behaved well.

These two girls were quietly enjoying the show.

Here comes the baje to enjoy the concert.

These two boys along with their other friends from a club in Dillibazar soon started dancing holding each other’s hands and forming a circle. A girl quickly grabbed my ID card provided by the organizers and made sure I was actually the one who I was claiming to be: a reporter from Kantipur in the middle of dancing youths. She was also from the same group. 17-year-old Rabindra Sapkota, originally from Hetauda and a student of Amrit Science College (ASCOLL) was in Tundikhel with his friend. “Good,” he said hurriedly as he was busy in dancing. “I danced a lot.”

Surrounded by Maoist posters featuring their Chairman Prachanda, boys and girls quietly enjoyed the show. Many of the guys who were standing far from the stage didn’t dance but, like these girls below, occasionally clapped and tapped their toes.

“Everybody put your hands up!” The musical order from the state was sincerely obeyed by the crowd. The crowd kept raising their hands and shaking their bodies.

The band LA “monkeys” sang half a dozen songs before packing up. But the “Once More” request kept coming from the crowd. How was the performance in Nepal? “Awesome,” quickly remarked Ulises Bella before going back to the stage. “It was great.” Again the song and dance session continued for several minutes. “We did perform in India but Nepali crowd is great,” Jero Yamaguchi told me as he came back to the backstage. Wil-Dog added: “This is one of the unforgettable even for us.”

A Video from the concert.






35 responses to “Ozomatli in Nepal: Music Makes You Loose Control!”

  1. Madhav Rosyara Avatar

    Thari thari umangga yautai thau!
    Time of revolution of politics and music !!
    people trying to get effuse from the autocracy of anything !!!
    aba garchhau hami sabai ma kranti
    thari thari bidha thari thari jan
    tara yautai matrai khula mancha !!!!!!!

    jaya des!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Rahar Avatar

    Why in the video Ms. Meena Kaini was given two shoots? Was it because of her charm of because it was needed?

  3. Rahar Avatar

    Sorry. The above mentioned name is incorrect. It is someother else. Regrets.

  4. dhanush Avatar

    nice pictures

  5. rdr Avatar

    In the land of blinds, one eyed man is king.

  6. Sypth Avatar


    This is definitely better than the Prachanda show! Cool girls, great performance and superb environment. Boys and gals danced well. Photographs are great bro. Have a nice day there!!!

  7. Nhorning Avatar

    I wonder if USAID knows that Ozomatli started as a result of Revolutionary Communist Youth brigade meetings.

    Those guys are Maoist sympathizers.

  8. Gram Kumar Avatar
    Gram Kumar

    American Center and Mr. Robert Hugins,

    Next time Britney Spears okay? Please do that soon. I mean man I enjoyed Ozomatli and I am sure I will enjoy even more in Britney Spears show. The whole Tudikhel and Khulamanch will be filled with boys and girls, not just the Khulamanch like yesterday. Even the Nepali Army folks will be happy to provide the space on their ground. Masti hunchha, Mr. Hugins, if she comes! I hope you will not let me down.

  9. Nhorning Avatar

    Next concert, Rage Against the Machine. The first version of their “Bombtrack” video was done in support of the shining path.

  10. Nepali Keto Avatar
    Nepali Keto

    Okay, NHorning, I think this Gram Kumar has presented a solution for the next time: Britney Spears is not a Maoists. I don’t care even if she is! I just love her man! Gram is right, I urge American Center to BRING HER ON, and the whole Kathmandu will come in to Tudikhel and dance wiher.

    Man, if they are communists, they must have enjoyed those Prachanda Posters all over the Khula manch. But Maoist also sing revolutionary songs and this band also sings anti-war songs. I think USAID knew about it and wanted to give a chance. After all, Maoists and Ozomatli performed in the same ground within three days!

  11. Pokhreli Bandhu Avatar
    Pokhreli Bandhu

    Why only in Kathmandu? Bring the band in Pokhara. Pokhara is one of the most musically active city in Nepal and you only organize such programs in Kathmandu? This is not fair. Okay, if Britney Spears comes, I will not complain 🙂

  12. dialogue Avatar

    who has most money to win the elections.
    why are we even writing inglish.
    sex drugs and rock and roll . It is not serious. But circus keeps the crowd happy, what was it again in the roman times decadence hedonism andyes i CHANGE MY MIND ABOUT PRACHANDRAS FAVORIT E MOVIE SPARTAKUS IS THE IDEA. PLAY AND GAMES. EAT AND SLEEP IN SLAVERY.
    all these americanized with nepali cap.
    I predict a time of original folclore, like latin america, mixed with nationalsim chauvinism. Normality forget it. Enjoy.

  13. Bina Avatar

    [deleted because the writer has posted an updated comment.]

  14. Bina Avatar

    There were errors in my previous comment. There’s what it should read:
    This is a Moriarty Salvo agaist peace in Nepal. He and his republican government in Washington did whatevery they could to forment violence in Nepal by arming King Gyanendra with M16s. Now he is sponsoring events like this as a face-saving attempt. I have nothing to say about our confused generation (see the pathetic girls shaking their ass at the concern) that hardly knows what is happing right their nose but is proud of being part of what is served as western, be it Ozomatli or Britney Spears. I wonder if these boys and girls – from upstart Kathmandu middle class ( that thrives on easy money coming in the form of remittance) – have any sense of vernacular culture.

    I surely have nothing to say about Wagle’s reporting. After all he blogs UNITEDLY for a DEMOCRATIC Nepal.

    May salute to Lato Desh Ka Gada Tanneri haru lai.

  15. Jesus Avatar

    Why are people so polluted in their minds? Where has all the modesty in Nepal gone?….tell me if i’m wrong but has any nepali leader thought of using the same methodology in uniting ppl of all colors and backgrounds?…A group from another country has the ingenuity in helping and raising awareness of a true democracy and community…and yet here lie some who see the whole picture in black n white only…Bina, If there was a medicine for good will and positivity, i’d give it to you…do you know why this generation is confused…coz its becoz ppl like you are confusing them all the time…who turn a wedding into a funeral..

  16. Raj Shrestha Avatar

    I missed the Ozomatli’s concert .
    Anyway the concert was great.It seems so….
    Ani dinesh dai by your snaps it shows the gals are more excited than boys …and you snaps a single gal for four times ….?????Great shots…..

  17. Cultural Mind Avatar
    Cultural Mind

    Recently I read an article in Kathmandu Post (originally in LA Times, I think, or Washington Post) that talked about the American cultural impact all over the world. It said the Berlin Wall came down because of MTV. Everywhere we have American cultural impact, not to talk about political and military one. For love songs we need Americans, and even for war and revolutionary song we need Americans. They have everything to offer and that expands to all ranges.

  18. nepaldiary Avatar

    Hami Ozomatli Los Angeles Bata!

    very nice reporting as well nice music mela!
    just after a valentine day
    the Khulamanch , wat a plateform for all , human activist, music , political speach and much more !!!

    wonderful !!
    the concert was great


  19. Mero Desh Avatar
    Mero Desh

    People are more vibrant and excited then the prachanda thug’s useless “Bhashan” the other day. Well this showed no matter what ever maoists did to get so many people for the prachanda’s address, they can never get people to willingly participate in their “AAM SABHA”.

    Two different activities, same place, prachanda and other SPAM realize what people want your useless politics or peace and enjoyment?

    They (7 parties and the maoists) really are like SPAM’s flooding our country with useless ideas, that are always so called “junk”, today or tomorrow they will be deleted without even looking at them.

  20. angelica Avatar

    whoever took the above video sure enjoyed the goldilock’s ass for a second…

  21. bina_killer Avatar

    hey u

    you dont try to teach the educated ones and who see the straight thats going on the country, the people like you ignorant at mind and so called well versed with politics are destrying the things, Its far far far better than political grumblings and khukuri show and chakka jam and tire burning. You must be prachande’s mistress. You all dont deserve happy ending, salla kutta ka marand marne chhau,

    Cheers to the youths who love music than $#@& prachande’s natak..

  22. notrahar Avatar

    where is meena?

  23. janiva roy Avatar

    i am playback singer in bengali film kolkata.my mob-009831275339.i am interested to perform with your organisation.i hope u will reply me.thank u.

  24. Jason Nedley Avatar

    They started with a sit-in; now they dare you to sit still. Read this:


  25. Bimal Avatar

    Hey! Gajab ko show raicha ta! Hami ta khai bidesh mai janmiu bidesh mai hurkeu… Miss al dis moments.

  26. Roshan Avatar

    Ozomatily , wounderful rocking proformance ,Still i remember that concert, they encourages us —-U R MORE ROKERS THEN INDIANS!!!!!!!just miss u Ozomatli!!!!!!!!

  27. juan Avatar

    are you serious? We’re actual representing the USA with this crap music. Poor kids.

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