Published in the et.cetera section of The Kathmandu Post on October 25th 2010
On Saturday, the Kirateshwor Temple in Pashupatinath came alive with the rhythmic ebb and flow of classical music.
Beneath a clear night sky, approximately 200 people gathered in the temple’s courtyard for the monthly event that has been running since 1991.
The event started at 4 pm and continued into the evening, finishing at 8 pm. In the first sitting, which lasted two hours, there were four devotional performances. In the second sitting, there were a further three performances, including a special Dashain song. Performances included Misar Shivasamjani Raag and Rag Jog.
Highlights of the evening included soothing classical vocals by Malati Acharya accompanied by a group playing the harmonium, tabla and tanpura, while a duo playing the tabla and a 45-stringed tarang who delighted the audience for an hour.
According to Krishna Prasad Ghimire, founding president of the Kirateshwor Sangeet Ashram—the organization that coordinated the performances, “Classical music is devotional music. Our programme is fully devotional, not commercial.”
The crowd mainly consisted of young men with a handful of tourists. Martin Hetmank, a German who has just started working in Kathmandu, said, “I am surprised by the amount of young people here. It’s traditional music and you would expect older people here.”
Ghimire spoke of the importance of youth attending classical concerts. “It’s our traditional and culture. This music has been here since ancient times. We are communicating to the youth about our culture and traditions.” He added that every year the organisation hosts an under-18 classical music competition. Last year’s winner will be performing next month.