Kandara’s crooner is back
Mar 3, 2015-
If you lived through the 90s in Nepal, Hong Kong Pokhara is surely one song that you would know by heart. A lok-pop track performed by Pokhara-based band Kandara—known for popular numbers like Leka Ki Hemaya, Timi Paari, Kahaan Hideki and Tagaroma—the song had Bivek Shrestha on the vocals. Back after a long period of hiatus, Bivek is currently working on the band’s new album. The singer, who had also made a name for himself as a solo artist with songs like Timilai chodi and Jindagi Yo Utsav, talked to Nhooja Tuladhar regarding his career and other interests. Excerpts:
What are you working on these days?
Right now, we are working on a new Kandara album. We are in the recording phase and we plan on getting everything done by the Nepali New Year. It’s a lok-pop album, signature to the band. I think Kandara have made major contributions towards the genre and we want to continue that. The album will also feature a remix version of Timi Pari, which is one of the best hits that Kandara have ever performed. Other than that, in the UK, I run a school with three other directors called Kandara Performing Arts Centre. There we teach Nepali music and dance. It is my dream project to start a similar centre in Pokhara, which should materialise soon.
What about your solo career? Do you have plans to reboot it or do you just want to work with the band right now?
Musically, I want to do as much as I can. We will be covering one end of the spectrum as a band, but I do not want to be stereotyped, so I want to explore other genres as well. Soon, I plan on doing playback singing, sugam sangeet et cetera.
Other than your work, what do you like to do whenever you have some time for yourself?
I like to do lots of things (laughs). I play cricket, I read, watch films, hang out with my friends and travel.
What kinds of films do you like to watch?
Well, I am not very picky as to what movies I want to watch. But I mostly watch fun movies. I try not to watch anything stressful when I want to unwind. I’m not saying that I never watch serious material, though. PK, for example, is the kind of movie that I enjoy. It is meaningful and fun at the same time, isn’t it? And Amitabh Bachchan is my favourite actor, all the way!
Do you like to read?
Yes, I like reading autobiographies and travelogues.
I do not have a favourite as such, but Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is something that I’ve always longed to read. I’m going to go through it very soon.
Are you a foodie? What would be your last meal on earth? What about cooking?
Of course I am. I love daal-bhat and momo. Momo would definitely be my last meal on earth.
Are you brand-conscious?
No, not really. Although at times I do prefer brands. Fragrances by Tommy Hilfiger, for example, are something that I can’t do without.
Is there anything you bought recently and you are really fond of?
Oh yes, a pair of trousers I bought in Pokhara recently. I was really in need of one. Unfortunately, the trousers got ripped by a stray nail sticking out of a table at the band’s junction. Another of my trousers were torn by the same nail last year. Some coincidence, huh? (laughs)
Do you look up to anyone as a source of inspiration?
There are a number of people who inspire me. It includes legendary singers who I always listen to, it would be unfair to name just one. Also, my parents and my family.
Any memorable incident from your career as a music artist that you’d like to share with us?
In 1997 or 98, Kandara was doing its second biggest tour. We were in Bhairahawa. We were setting up for a sound-check two hours prior to the opening of the show and the mixer blew up and was in fumes due to unstable voltage. And unfortunately for us, there was no other mixer in the whole city. So off I went on a motorcycle, on a 25 km journey to Butwal. And even in Butwal, we couldn’t find a mixer.
Fortunately, there was this event organiser in Bhairahawa who had a mixer, but he refused to give it to us because we had declined from playing in his programme, which was scheduled to be held the next day. At last he agreed to let us use it, but he had a condition. We were to invite his girlfriend to the stage in the middle of the performance and introduce her in front of the audience. We agreed to the deal and actually called his girlfriend up on stage. It was quite the day.
What is your worst nightmare?
Having to spend my entire life outside Nepal is my worst nightmare. It is something that I am really scared of.
Is there anything you’d want to change about your life or your past?
If I could have, I would have not gone to engineering school. I feel like I wasted my time there.
I started my music career when I was doing this science course and I quite messed up my academics. I was a very good student otherwise. I think I could have done so much more if I was studying something that I was actually interested in.
If not in this field, what would you be doing?
I would have probably been a cricketer. I think I am a very good bowler.
Published: 03-03-2015 08:16