ARTISTS TO WATCH
Diwas Gurung: Ayurveda’s Alter Ego
From playing the guitar for Albatross to joining Ayurveda and now working on a solo project, Diwas Gurung has come a long way. WAVE caught up with him for an email interview. Excerpts:
Because it has slowly and surely defined me as a person, and the role I am to play in this life. For me, it is the best way of expression and communication and a constant push-pull of challenges and rewards.
From Albatross to Ayurveda to Diwas Gurung (solo), how was the journey?
The journey from Albatross to Ayurveda was a huge one. Things sort of went from being a hobby to total commitment. In Albatross, we were serious about it but, I knew that it was a temporary thing
(we all did) so we just had fun and wrote a bunch of tunes, there was no expectation or over thinking, there definitely was a sense of innocence. It was genuine, and that is all you can really hope from any artist - genuineness.
Ayurveda has been a journey in itself, since the time it started in 2002 till now.It started innocently enough, but by 2006 it was evident that we had our own distinct 'sound' which was a result of the right combination of people playing music. All of us work very well, creatively and socially, which is always something worth exploring .However, the band is in a constant state of evolution, because who wants to write the same song twice?
The solo stuff is really an offshoot of Ayurveda, and was really purely for fun. We would do these weekly 'Nepali nights' here in Ithaca, NY where we would cover a bunch of barely-rehearsed Nepali songs, and let our instincts take us where it may, which, a lot of times didn't end well, but it was fun nevertheless. Ithaca is a very accepting place and the people here actually like the Nepali songs. It was not until we decided to record an album, that I sort of sat down and arranged a few songs, and we realised the potentialthe songs had. So really, my solo stuff is a facet of Ayurveda.
Why Nepali folk music? Why such a diversion in genre and theme?
When I was growing up completely obsessed with guitar and 'shredding', I had little to no interest in Nepali folk music. But age changes you and your values, as I started to get tired of the guitar, I started singing, and was able to take some singing and madal lessons at Sadhana Kala Kendra in Putalisadak, and that was a revelation to me. This music that has been around me all my life and had seeped into my unconsciousness for years, suddenly became very real to me. I could finally understand its beauty. This led me to revisit some of the old folk songs, and that was it. I could feel the change in me and the music that I created.
Also, my father who still is an amazing singer, has been a source of constant inspiration. Everytime I hear him singing I realise how difficult it really is to sing this music, and although I am constantly practicing, I doubt I can ever be a great singer.
For me, folk music is something that has been handed down from generation to generation, and it changes and adapts in relation to the cultural climate of that era, which still maintains its authenticity. That was my intention with recording Rato Mato, it is my humble contribution.
'Nepali folk music makes sense to you'. What does it mean?
It means that I understand it from a technical aspect as well as an emotional aspect. Needless to say that my understanding of it is probably radically different than of someone like Mr. Purna Nepali, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of it. The road I've traveled to get here took me to western music and the music of west Africa first, which allowed me to view Nepali folk in a slightly different context. That is not to say I am content with it, I am always eager to learn more about it and practice.
What is the theme of Rato Mato?
I guess the main theme is that of 'rato mato, chiplo bato' as in rato mato is slippery and this profession of music is a very slippery road. There is very little security (financially) and the causalities are numerous. This is specially true in Nepal. However, rato mato is also used to build a house. Therein lies the dichotomy of the musician's life, on one hand you are financially insecure, but it brings you immense personal fulfillment. I wanted to do an album of covers because this way I could highlight some of the musicians in Nepal and give them whatever exposure I could, here in the USA.
How different are audiences and gigs in general in America than in Nepal?
I did not play a lot of gigs in Nepal, but from what I remember the audiences were really supportive, and that is true over here most of the time. There are certain places in the US, where people are known for being horrible audiences, and we generally avoid those places on our tours. But it is inevitable that you have some bad shows. For the most part we have a good supportive fanbase over here consisting of Americans and Nepalis.
Does incidents and experience in life reflect on the music you make, songs you sing?
Everything I have done and seen and heard has in some way shaped my music. Although when I sing sad songs, I find myself thinking about my first heartbreak, and try to channel some of that anguish, that I felt at that moment.
Does the music you make with Ayurveda reflect on the music you make as Diwas Gurung?
Any particular influences or inspirations?
There are lots. Gopal Yonzon, Nepathya, Phiroj Syangden, Mr. Purna Nepali and my father O.B. Soaltee are amongst the many Nepali musicians I love and respect.
For western music it's King Crimson, Radiohead, Tool and The Beatles. I appreciate good guitar playing.
I also am heavily inspired by Carnatic music and the music from Mali.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
We just finished our new EP H.Luminous which is essentially a conceptual piece. We head out for a two month long tour in March and after we get back, I want to record some tracks for a new Nepali album. This one will have a lot of originals along with some covers. In the meantime, I am coordinating a Nepali release of Rato Mato.
1. robin gurung, plumstead london,uk
Diwas bro u rocks..wish u all the best frm all the londoners
11 MARCH 2010 | 11:44 AM NST |
2. Kamal Gurung, Baghdad, Iraq
Diwas our best wishes with you.. Cheers !
12 MARCH 2010 | 10:28 AM NST |
3. Cloud, London
dami cha diwas bro ko geet haru... i wish u for gr8 future ahed wid rockin musics..
16 MARCH 2010 | 1:35 PM NST |
4. binod, lakeside
rato mato was one piece , like that but ur second album couldn't satisfy me like firt one but the cover of taxman and army of me was really really good ... any keep the nice work ..
23 MARCH 2010 | 11:48 PM NST |
5. dolma tshering gurung, chamati
keeeeeeeep it up ..goood luck.........
18 MAY 2010 | 11:43 AM NST |