Talking transcendental tunes

  • Off the track: Hemanta Rana
Talking transcendental tunes

Aug 18, 2014-

Hemanta Rana is one of the most loved contemporary singers in the industry today. The audience have been immensely impressed by his style of blending sufi with adunik/pop music. So far, Hemanta has released three albums-Paap Punya, Laija Re, and Aakash. The title song Laija Re from the second album was a huge hit and has helped him gain recognition amongst adhunik and pop fans alike. A national-level wushu player previously, Hemanta is now gearing up for his fourth album. The artiste has been busy with musical tours and is also working as music composer for a few upcoming films. Rajita Dhungana caught up with the singer to talk about his upcoming album, his musical journey so far, and his other interests. Excerpts:

What will your next album be like?

I’ve decided to not focus on only love songs this time around. So far I’ve completed one song and the rest are waiting to get recorded. Songs like Boksi and Aina, for example, are based on contemporary social issues and are my attempts to create awareness. But it’ll be a while till the album is out since I’ve been busy with musical tours. I recently came back from Europe and will be leaving for the US and the UK again. Early next year is my tentative target for the album release.

From a wushu player to a successful singer, what has the journey been like?

I have loved singing and performing since the time I was in school but I had not thought of making a career out of music. Back then, martial arts was my priority. During 2002-2003, when I was practicing wushu, Nepal was in a state of transition. Due to the conflict then, a future as an athlete seemed bleak. It was a frustrating time for me, and eventually, I decided to take up singing instead.

Do you regret your decision?

Music has given me more than I’d ever expected from it. People know me and I get opportunities to perform all over the world. The only thing that I miss about being an athlete is that I won’t be able to carry the national flag and represent my country during international competitions. That pride in my country means a lot to me, and I sometimes regret not continuing with martial arts.

What do you like to do when you have free time?

I like to hang out with friends. Since I’m a huge fan of sports, I like to play as well as watch football and cricket. I try not to miss out on league matches, especially La Liga, as I’m a fan of Barcelona. Watching films is another form of entertainment for me.

Any favourite actors?

 I enjoy watching films starring Dayahang Rai. Whatever character he portrays, he does it with utmost sincerity. He is such a realistic actor. I also like Irrfan Khan a lot. His acting abilities are admirable.

Are you much of a reader?

I read a lot of Nepali literature. I’ve always liked books by BP Koirala and Krishna Dharabasi and never get tired of reading them. In fact, their works have even inspired some of my compositions.

You’ve travelled to different corners of the world. Any favourite places?

It always feels good to travel around and see the world. I mostly go out on tours and the love and respect I get from the Nepali crowd abroad is overwhelming. Also, every country has its own specialty, so it would be unfair to pick a favourite. But I think Nepal is the most beautiful country on earth. I love Dang, my birthplace, the most of all.

Any memorable incidents you’d like to share with us?

I remember this incident from one of the tours I had been to. When I was going to Munich from Belgium, I had to switch trains and there was only a 15-minute transit time between them. I took the first train and reached Brussels. But after that I could not figure out which train I had to take next. No one there understood English and I had a hard time explaining myself. Luckily, I managed to catch the train. But after getting on it, I started getting even more nervous because I started thinking about what I would have done if I’d actually missed the train.

Another time in Australia, I lost my voice a day before one performance. I panicked a lot and tried everything to get my voice back. It’s fun to remember all this now, but when in the situation, it scares the wits out of you.

What do you think are your biggest strength and weakness?

I think I’m quite confident and I always try to put in a lot of hard work and dedication into whatever I do. I think if you are passionate, nothing can stop you. It’s time management that is important.

Talking about weakness, I tend to trust people too easily, be it in my personal life or professional. And sometimes things don’t always work out as you expect them to.

What plans do you have for the future?

I want to continue composing songs and work at improving my craft. I also want to work on a Nepali folk album. And in that record, I’ll try to include music of all the ethnicities and cultures of Nepal. The songs will have a modern touch to them, but I’ll try my best to retain the original essence. 

Published: 19-08-2014 09:31

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