Photo by MITCH IKEDA
The tradition continues
As Fuji Rock celebrates its 20th year, one band that might be close to most performances over the years is Upendra and Friends. They seem to be booked every year and always play the Gypsy Avalon and Mokudo Tei stage in the morning.
Having seen them before, I’m starting to understand why they’re an essential part of the fest every year. The ensemble plays traditional Nepalese music with traditional instruments usually in a quiet, peaceful setting like the forest stage or the Gypsy Avalon where they played today.
Their instrumentation usually includes hand drums, a flute and sometimes keys or a stringed instrument. There’s a simplicity to their music but more than anything a peaceful and assured sound. The skill level can’t be underestimated despite sounding simple.
The music is in-tune with nature and has a spiritual feel to it. This is healing music that can ease you into your day. People come and go throughout the set, some eat food, others plan their day. Like a meditation session to start the day, the feeling of Nepalese tranquility finds its way into all that stop and listen.