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Nepalese Music
Shyam Nepali playing the sarangi, Nepalese Music, 2018; Watertown, MA; Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
Shyam Nepali playing the sarangi, Nepalese Music, 2018

Watertown, MA
Photography by Maggie Holtzberg
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Shyam Nepali
Watertown, MA
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Pranawa Phuyal
Cambridge, MA
Shyam Nepali was born into one of the most prominent musical families of the centuries old Gandharva musical caste in Nepal. Historically, the Gandharva earned their living as traveling musicians, composing songs that brought news to villagers throughout Nepal's mountainous region. Other songs were inspired by the sounds of nature and the beauty of the rural landscape.

Shyam's grandfather, Magar Gaire Nepali, and father, Ram Saran Nepali, are among the most accomplished and innovative musicians in the Gandharva tradition. They all play the sarangi, a bowed string instrument, carved out of a single log of wood. Held on the knee, the sarangi is used to play instrumental folk melodies, improvisations, and to accompany singing.

Apprentice Pranawa Phuyal has been studying the sarangi for three years through group classes with Shyam and is ready to take on more advanced technique. The grant will allow Shyam and Pranawa to work one-on-one several days a week. In addition to learning traditional melodies and the art of accompanying song, Phuyal will work on learning to sing micro-tones not found in western music, ornamentation, mastering the vocabulary of different embellishments, including the percussive hammering technique done with the bow and left hand pizzicato.
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