Print Edition - 2015-05-20  |  Earthquake Relief

Busking for quake victims

- Nhooja Tuladhar, Kathmandu
Busking for quake victims

May 19, 2015-

Dipson Ghale and Shashank Gurung, two Nepali youth based in the UK, wanted to help the quake victims in Nepal by busking in the streets of London and raising funds. And when they shared the idea with some other friends, they decided to take it one step further by establishing an organisation. Thus, Busk for Nepal was formed.

The group busked for the first time on May 1 at Trafalgar Square, in front of the National Gallery. Since then, the group has performed in two other venues--Piccadilly Circus Station opposite of Exit 5 and Camden Town. The performances have been scheduled from 4pm to 9pm every Friday and the group plan to continue till the end of July.

Along the way, the organisation has gathered more artists—both international and those from the Nepali diaspora.

Joanna Charafeddine Akar, Andrei Frias, Jerusha Rai, Shreya Rai, Prasil Kanwar, Diwan Roka, Karuna Gurung, Yogesh Limbu, Mahanta Gurung, Nirjan Rai, Ash Chetri, Ben Richardson, Utsab Subedi, Dipson Ghale and Shashank Gurung are some of the musicians who have been busking. Dancers Ting Ho, Wai Man Leung, Nilufer Masa Cetin,    Vitas LeBas, Deepak Mouchen Darlami and Sakun Jimi have also been performing.

After a stint of gigs in the public spaces of the UK, the group plans on travelling to cities like New York, Brussels, Antwerp and Leuven to continue the project.

According to Shashank Gurung, the response has been positive. “We have gained a lot of followers and donors since the time we started. We have so far managed to raise more than £1,000 from the three events,” he says.

“This is amazing, what you guys are doing. I am proud that Nepali youth have taken an initiative,” a passer-by had said to the group. Another person who had donated during a busking session had said: “Nepal is such a beautiful country, and I would like to help rebuild an amazing nation.”

The organisation has also been raising funds through the website justgiving.com. Gurung says that the funds raised online will go towards the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC).

“We are still in the process of planning how to utilise the other part of the fund [raised through busking]. We are thinking of travelling to Nepal and helping people on the grounds,” he says.

The initiative has become a platform for these young artists to help as well as to learn.

“I’m a nervous wreck on stage but performing in the streets is very relaxing and nullifies all the feelings of self-importance and awkwardness. I want to encourage other people to try it too, for Nepal and for their own inner growth. Busking to raise money and awareness could go a long way as all of us will most likely have at least one person on our Facebook friends list who plays the guitar or some other musical instruments,” says Shreya Rai, a singer-songwriter popular on Youtube for her cover songs of old Nepali classics.

Although thousands of miles away from their home-country, the Nepali artists say that they are happy to be able to help out in any way possible, despite not being physically present in the disaster-ravaged land.

“It feels really great to know that you’re doing something good for the sake of your country,” says Prasil Kanwar.

Published: 20-05-2015 07:54

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