Tag Archives: concert

Bryan Adams in Kathmandu: What Does That Mean to Nepal

[This article first appeared on Sunday’s (feb 20) Kathmandu Post. Bryan Adams performed in Kathmandu’s Dasharath Stadium on Saturday.]

Bryan Adams in Kathmandu Nepal
Brinda Singh, who went on stage from the crowd, clings to Bryan Adams after singing “when you are gone” with the star

By Dinesh Wagle
Pic by Narendra Shrestha

KATHMANDU: Were things better here, Bryan Adams’ arrival wouldn’t be such a big deal.

Over the past two decades or so Nepali society has opened up to the outside world—especially Western culture and values—like never before. More people are going abroad. English language schools have proliferated. The reach of radio and TV has widened. Credit for this change should be given to the open economic policy adopted by the first government of Girija Prasad Koirala after the restoration of democracy in 1990.

But the arrival of Bryan Adams became a big deal because we are in a far from ideal situation.

The signs of progress that we saw in the middle of the 90s quickly disappeared into the smoke coming from the violent Maoist-police clashes. The economy stopped growing as politics failed to deliver the basic expectations of the people and the business community. Bloody conflict ended without concrete relief.

bryan adams in nepal Kathmandu Post 20 feb 2011

As a result of these and other issues, it seems society has hit rock bottom. People no longer hesitate to put aside morality for the smallest of things. Opportunities are so rare that the slimmest chance to earn money creates intense rivalry and conflict. We’ve all seen dogs on the street fight over a small piece of bone, haven’t we?

This past week I got to see the preparations made by the organisers of the Bryan Adams concert in Kathmandu up close. They wouldn’t tell me the exact figure of the deal that had several groups, including an Indian team that was responsible for setting up a stage and managing the sound system at the venue. But the red tape that they had to go through and the hassles they faced to make that event happen were clear to see. Every concerned authority, from police officers to the sports officials who rented Dasharath stadium for the gig, wanted their share of the profits. And there were countless demands for free passes. Those in powerful positions, including senior police officers, wanted the most expensive tickets free for them and their families. Others only demanded free access to the cheapest seats. “There are so many people who are envious that we are bringing Bryan Adams,” a person associated with one of the organising groups told me last week. “Everyone wants to pull our leg. There are obstacles at every step.”

 

It’s not surprising that earning money is one of the most difficult feats in a society that is one of the world’s poorest. But everything has a limit. We seem to have crossed this line.

The chief and a member of the sports council reportedly each asked for separate kickbacks. The chief denied asking for a bribe, while the member in question said he wanted money for ‘sports’. Organisers denied bribing officials, but it was hard to believe that they didn’t. Agitating employees, who were waging a separate war of sorts with the management, locked the stadium gates. They unlocked the gates only after securing volunteering opportunities during the concert. Simant Gurung, one of the organisers, hinted to me that the organisers unofficially promised to voluntarily donate some money to the agitating employees’ group. By the time of the settlement, some damage had already been done. Vandals had burned the closed-circuit television cables put in place at the stadium complex.

And there were friendly expectations. Friends of organisers wanted photo opportunities with the singer. Some wanted to see Bryan at their restaurants in Thamel and Durbar Marg. “That bhai at Tamas (restaurant) asked if I could take Bryan to his restaurant and make the singer sing just one song,” Simant said last week. “Another bhai from Lakhe had the same request. I would love to bring the singer to my own restaurant (Simol, Durbar Marg) and make him sing a few numbers if that was possible!”

The exposure to Western ideas and values that I mentioned at the beginning of this article, is mostly limited to television screens. A few hundred thousand Nepalis may have directly experienced Western societies by visiting and living in them. But celebrated personalities from the West don’t come to us that often.

The reason, again, is our poverty. We can’t afford to buy the expensive tickets for their programmes. We don’t have the money for their authentic CDs and DVDs. We can’t spend money on the merchandise that they hope to sell during their tours. This is the reason many Western celebrities who come to India (which is becoming a lucrative market) don’t step foot in Nepal. We are not important enough for them to come because we are not rich enough. Of course, there are those Nepalis who are rich enough to attend every such concert and buy every merchandising item on sale. There are many others who know Western songs by heart and idolise Western celebrities. But those numbers are not high enough to gain the attention of mainstream Western celebrities. That is why people like Nilesh Joshi, a guitarist with Nepali rock band Cobweb, feel bad every time Western celebrities tour India but skip Nepal.

Here enters Bryan, into this gloomy scenario.

With his arrival, many of us may feel that our existence has been recognised. Many of us may feel that we have finally been accepted into that advanced world we aspire to be a part of. Bryan may have instilled some amount of self confidence in us. But all this, I must clarify, may only be felt by those who know about Bryan and are familiar with his music. For those who don’t know the singer, like the spokesperson of Kathmandu valley police who thought Shree Bryan Adams was a “British national” and a “band but not a person” all these things may not matter much.

[The article in print version introduced Nilesh Joshi as singer of the band Cobweb. He is not. He plays bass guitar for the band.]

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. Continue reading Ozomatli in Nepal: Music Makes You Loose Control!

Time for Music and Masti in Nepal: Shake Your Bum!

musical concerts in nepal

Ahhh…nachyo maichyang timi damphu ko taalai ma: An unidentified sundari enjoys her time in a concert, Surya Lights Rhythm Nights, organized by Party Nepal in Dharan late Friday night as singer Preeti Kaur enthralls the crowd. About five hundred youngsters from the town participated in the dance party. Pic by Raju Ghising

Saturday Blog: Let’s face it, the singing and dancing and celebrations that you are seeing in these photos were in no way planned to coincide with the signing ceremony of the Interim Constitution of Nepal. That’s why there is something called coincidence. Evenings in Fridays are colorful but when it comes to day time in Nepal, Saturdays rock! As leaders of ruling SPA and Maoists put their precious signatures on the final copy of IC early in the morning today, boys and girls in Kathmandu, Biratnagar and Dharan started twisting their enviable waists. It can be argued that many of these bindas youngsters might not have an iota of idea about the IC. They might not have a hint that the prime minister of Nepal in the next (interim) government will be the most powerful after Mohan Shamser JB Rana. King will still be in Narayanhitti, unfortunately not in a cage like in Mohan Shamser’s time, but hey lets conclude that no person with self-respect would continue sticking to the powerless, in other word impotent, throne. I would have publicly (and proudly) renounced the crown and become the respectable citizen of the New Nepal. Can Gyanendra prove that is he is a son of a Kshetriya?

Boys and girls, give him a few days time (until the IC is promulgated) and, in the meantime, go to Tundikhel to experience the, ahem, not so great concert by a Pakistani band called Jal. 🙂 This report by Pawan Neupane aka Pawan Dev! Continue reading Time for Music and Masti in Nepal: Shake Your Bum!

Oh Baby When U Dance Like That, U Make A Boy Go Mad!!!

Thamel Peace Project Concert

Le do le le le le: Can’t you see, She’s at her feet!?! Pic by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

Saturday Blog: Life out of politics. Well into a different one!

Thamel is the one place in Nepal where West meets East in a style. This style makes it distinct compared to other precincts of Kathmandu. What’s not there in Thamel? “I was offered everything available under the sun,” told one of my Californian friends who was staying in Thamel couple of years ago. Just imagine a scene: disparate Tiger Balm vendors trying to sell the “magical product” budget travelers with backpacks full of aspirations to go around Nepal in the cheapest package available. Those scenes will be rare as the tourist season is nearing an end. In its best times, Thamel is always full of goras from all parts of the world representing varieties of cultures. Foods taste cosmopolitan in Thamel. So if you don’t frequent to Thamel, you will definitely miss something. And if you were not in Thamel today, boy, let me tell you, you missed so many things. Continue reading Oh Baby When U Dance Like That, U Make A Boy Go Mad!!!