Album Review: Night – Jhalka Raya Buka [26th August 2017]

The world of folk music is, nowadays, experiencing a revival where artists struggle to find a balance between traditions, integrity, and individual innovation. With the album, Jhalka Raya Buka, the Nepali band Night offers a new-school folk packed with plenty of respectful reminiscences and additional field recordings of Nepal’s musical practices.There are over one hundred ethnicities intertwining in the present scenario of Nepali cultural heritage. Indeed, this enchanting collection of 9 tracks is based on the research and musical journey that the band undertook throughout the country to revitalize endangered traditional instruments and meet regional musicians.

Released at the end of August, Jhalka Raya Buka is Night’s production, market and distribution. The title track ‘Jhalka Raya Buka’ means ‘remnant of memory’ and it reflects on the music-cultural association between two singing and performance styles of Western Nepal: thadi and deuda.

Here, you have an incredible and remarkable album actually resonating with mountain folktales, Hindu poems and chants, as well as everyday human attempts to deal with both the working and spiritual life. Not only does Night bring these traditions to unfamiliar ears, but they deliver unique compositions with live recordings taken by Nepali hills and forests. ‘Putaliko Bhesha Barilai’ is a rearranged version of a wedding ceremony practice spiced up with human whistles and wind instruments.

Sometimes we get lucky when English subtitles are there to help us in understanding the lyrical language. Some other times we are not, so let the sound language take over the willing comprehension and absorb the transcendent power of engagement with Night’s folk music. Surely there will be chances to get to know Nepali poems while learning how to make traditional Nepali instruments during the band workshops, ‘Know Your Instrument’. Once again, if you’re planning on taking a trip to Nepal fairly soon, here’s your passport, from the Northern mountains to the Southern Plains.