THE BUZZ | MUSIC
New singer on the block
Her voice has a certain maturity that belies her young age. Her debut album 'Silver Lining' received much admiration from many inside the music circle. Years of singing have indeed made 20 year old Dikyi Ukyab a pro at what she does. Currently pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and Anthropology at State University of New York (SUNY), WAVE caught up with the singer for an e-mail interview. Here are the excerpts.
Who is Dikyi Ukyab?
Dikyi Ukyab is our new generation of music. I think I encompass this modern era without forgetting my roots. I sing about loving your roots, your life, and yourself. I'm all about being happy!
Tell us about your childhood and your life in America?
Even though I was born in New York, I spent my childhood going back and forth between Nepal and the United States. Growing up in both countries was an amazing experience. I got to live with my family and grow up in this almost cultureless environment, and then I would come back to Nepal and experience this complete cultural immersion! I don't think people truly appreciate the beauty of Nepal and its people and culture until you've been separated from it. I truly gained love for not only who I am, but for where I come from.
Why is music important to you?
Music makes me happy. The best thing about music and being a singer is being able to share music. It's the best feeling in the world to give others that feeling of happiness that I get from music! I really do believe that music makes the world go round.
When did you realize you could sing?
I don't think there was a 'realization point', but I remember singing along to Shania Twain in second grade and thinking, "Wow, I so wanna do that!" Ever since then I've just been throwing myself into choirs and musicals, just finding any place to sing.
What type of music would you like to make in the future?
A lot of people think that mainstream pop is kind of talentless, but I think it's a really difficult feat! I hope I can keep churning out melodies that will stick in peoples' minds. I want my music to keep bringing out emotions in my listeners.
Who are your favourite artists?
I listen to a lot of different types of music ranging from classical to pop. Really it's any melody that catches my ear! Some of my favourite artists are Adele, Lady Gaga, and John Mayer. Not only do I love them for their sheer talent, but they also evoke a connection with their fans that I can only dream of creating. Among Nepalese artists I am a huge fan of 1974 AD, Raju Lama, Ciney Gurung, and Nima Rumba, all of whom are immensely talented.
One of my greatest inspirations is Adele. All she needs is a mike and a piano, watching her in all her simplicity always stirs my heart and I aspire to be able to do the same.
How does it feel having released your first album?
Releasing Silver Lining has been one of the greatest achievements of my life. I am so excited to finally be able to share my voice and music to my listeners. This album is really a reflection of its title, it's about being able to find that ray of hope and just being able to appreciate the happiness around you.
Any artists you would like to collaborate with in the future?
There are so many people I'd love to collaborate with! I feel like I'm so privileged to have already worked with someone as gifted as Nhyoo Bajracharya, it's truly a dream come true! In the future I'd love to work with other young rising artists; it'd be great to collaborate with the next generation of music.
Tell us about your experience shooting the video for 'Jaun'?
Shooting my first music video, 'Jaun', was such an amazing and new experience. I had never really gotten to see Nepal the way I did while shooting this video. I battled through my fear of heights and the never ending rain, but through it all I could only marvel at the beauty of what surrounded me.
Biggest compliment you have received?
The biggest compliment I have received so far has been the reaction from my fans! All I want to do with my music is to be able to touch my listeners, and hearing them tell me that I have done that is one of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced.
Your support system?
My biggest support system is my parents. They have always pushed me to explore my passions and really reach for the stars. With them behind my every step, I feel unstoppable.
Have you received any kind of training?
I've been singing classical western music for about 6 years now and I've taken some classical training as well. I think it's really important that you learn how to really use your voice properly, there's so much to learn about your voice! In the future I'd really love to take some Nepali classical training as well.
If not a singer, what would you be?
If I didn't pursue music, I would probably continue in my line of social and humanitarian work. I want to be able to give back to my people and my community in every way possible.
Any plans on bringing out a second album?
Absolutely! I think there's really no stopping me now!
Jugaa (KTM) and Sangharsha (KTM/NYC) are two well known bands, renowned for their hardcore acts. With their ruthless live performances and intense originals ,they are pushing the limits of music around us and their presence is utterly undeniable.
'The Sickness That Never Sleeps' is a straight edge venture with six songs; two originals and one cover by each band.
The album starts with Sangharsha doing an Integrity cover 'Vocal Test' and greatly justifies it maintaining the aggression of the original. 'Insaniyat' deals with the dark issues that society seems to have neglected. 'Ekata / samapta-aramva' which is riffier, is about unity, freedom, standing up for rights and not giving up. 'Sangharsha' starts a fire of anger that gets hotter with each new track.
Jugga enters in at the fourth track with their classic tone and style in a song about destruction of the environment, 'Come the winter'. Their mayhem continues with 'Vulture will feed' which is about society being scavenged by scum. The album concludes with a cover of Ringworm's 'Birth Is Pain'.
The split is filled with fierce growls and snarls, high pitched guitars and extreme drumming, delivering the music in your face. Sangharsha starts an angry harsh mood and maintains that in each track till the end, just like their previous releases.
The split was released free online the last week of August and the download also comes with the lyrics (Including the theme of the song) and art work. Dark moods and immense rage experienced from the first track to the last leaves us with a sense of anger and the urge to do something and makes the short split worth listening to. 'The Sickness That Never Sleeps' will make your fists pound and blood pump.
What's on my iPod?
Kashmir - Led Zeppelin
This song signals an important turning point in the history of rock music. The result of extra-homework by guitarist Jimmy Page and drummer John Bonham, this is one of my all time favorites.
Who Made Who – ACDC
This song is straight from the mid 80s, and I love this song because it is hard rock yet is soothing to my soul.
- The Beatles
The song that holds the record of being covered by the maximum number of artists, no need to explain why.
The Rolling Stones
A true melody created by Gram Parsons and Keith Richards Richards' 12-stringed guitar makes it sound even more majestic.
Everybody Hurts - R.E.M.
The voice of Michael Stipe is so magical and the lyrics of this song literally touch my heart.
Paranoid Android - Radiohead
I listen to this song throughout the year because of its darkly humorous lyrics combined with an insane musical creativity that very few other bands can boast of.
Sano Prakash - Atomic Bush
Had this song been released in the US or Europe, it could have made them millions. Such is the beauty of this song. I think this is arguably the best metal song ever created in Nepal.
Hurricane- Bob Dylan
Hurricane is more than just a song. Every time I listen to it, I feel I am listening to a story, or watching a movie.
Dakota - Stereophonics
A Beatles influenced band makes their ultimate song with the simplest of musical details.
Shine On You Crazy Diamonds
- Pink Floyd
A 13 and half minute journey through
the dense psychedelic cloud created
by the genius called Pink Floyd.
A MUSICAL Journey
By better understanding what music is and where it comes from, we may be able to better understand our motives, fears, desires, memories, and even communication in the broadest sense. Is music listening more along the lines of eating when you're hungry, and thus satisfying an urge? Or is it more like seeing a beautiful sunset and knowing innately what you feel?
It was the year 1997 when my father bought me a stereo system at the Sony hi-fi shop. I spent long afternoons in my room, listening to music: The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, CCR, Muddy Waters and Ray Charles mostly. I didn't listen particularly loud, at least not compared to my college days when I actually set my loudspeakers on fire by cranking up the volume too high, but the noise was evidently too much for my parents. My father is a businessman, and being the businessman that he is, my father made me a proposition: He would also buy me a pair of headphones if I would promise to use them when he was home. Those headphones forever changed the way I listened to music.
I had never before heard the depth that I could hear in the headphones—the placement of instruments both in the left-right field and in the front-back (reverberant) space.
To me, records were no longer just about the songs anymore, but about the sound. Headphones opened up a world of sonic colours, a palette of nuances and details that went far beyond the chords and melodies, the lyrics, or a particular singer's voice. The swampy Deep South ambience of 'Green River' by Credence Clearwater Revival, or the open-spaced beauty of the Beatles' 'Mother Nature's Son'; the sound was an enveloping experience. Headphones also made the music more personal for me; it was suddenly coming from inside my head, not from out there in the world.
I came across many people who listened to different genres and I tried to listen to the songs they liked and recommended, but it was as if we lived in two different solar systems. I found most of the pop music of the day largely imbecilic and most other types just discordant. My friends never seemed to understand the simple soothing air which comes out of a saxophone and the drum beat which makes you tap your feet for hours, like the music of Ray Charles or Muddy Waters and Miles Davies can. It wasn't until my late teenage years that I had understood what it is that music makes me feel. When a musical piece is too simple we tend not to like it, finding it trivial. When it is too complex, we tend not to like it either, finding it unpredictable as it isn't grounded in anything familiar.
Music, or any art form for that matter, has to strike the right balance between simplicity and complexity in order for us to like it. Simplicity and complexity relate to familiarity, and familiarity is just another word for schema. Music that involves too many chord changes, or unfamiliar structure, can lead many listeners straight to the nearest exit, or to the 'skip' button on their music players.
The power of music to evoke emotions is harnessed by advertising executives, filmmakers, and mothers. Advertisers use music to make a soft drink, beer, running shoe, or car seem more hip than their competitors'. Film directors use music to tell us how to feel about scenes that otherwise might be ambiguous, or to augment our feelings at particularly dramatic moments. Think of a typical chase scene in an action film, or the music that might accompany a lone woman climbing a staircase in a dark old mansion: Music is being used to manipulate our emotions, and we tend to accept, if not outright enjoy, the power of music to make us experience these different feelings. Mothers throughout the world, and as far back in time as we can imagine, have used soft singing to soothe their babies to sleep, or to distract them from something that has made them cry.
Today I hear music in even the most mundane of activities and appreciate different sounds, tunes and varieties. Norah Jones and Madeleine Peyroux soothe my senses, Kidrock makes me want to sing along and Albatross is one of the finest Nepali rock bands around today. But at the end of the day, having navigated a musical journey spanning different genres, across distance and time, Ray Charles crooning 'After my Laughter come Tears' is what music to me is still all about.