LIVE REPORTMOKUDO-TEI7/28 SUN
UPENDRA AND FRIENDS PLUS MR. SUNIL
Photo by CHEN YEN LING Text by fujirockers.org
Posted on 2019.7.30 16:48
Wonderful mountain music from Nepal
Flying high in the beautiful mountains
If you find yourself in a basement cafe in Kathmandu, Nepal, there’s a good chance you will be listening to Upendra and Friends. As is tradition, the band kicked off the Gypsy Avalon stage this year, bringing a special guest, Mr. Sunil who would play the flute later.
Fuji Rock’s commitment to the band was reinforced years after a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. The nation continues to struggle in its rebuild, and any extra attention that can be afforded to their causes is much appreciated. Those visiting the Palace of Wonder tonight will know that the late night haunt Posh Tomato is dedicated to Nepal relief efforts, donating proceeds each year.
But at this moment, the focus is on the music. The band is comprised of Upendra Lal Singh on keyboard and a half dozen Nepali musicians playing native drums and other percussion.The band don’t just represent Nepal, but play fusion music which is led by Nepali percussion and rhythms from nearby India.
Today’s weather could not be better, with rain largely staying away and many perched in the shade of trees as the sun brings a little extra heat. The band stormed on stage and played for a sizable crowd who bobbed and weaved and watched the performance past a row of sunflowers at the front of the stage. It was a rollicking good time, and ended too soon.The band mentioned one of the newer songs was dedicated to the Medal which is the traditional drum of Nepal.
After thirty minutes Upendra turned over the stage to Mr. Sunil who played a traditional flute, communicating with the heavens above and birds in the sky. It was music from a mountain country, and a slight breeze fluttered and filled the field. Dragon flies swarmed around a man who seemed to be asleep, and an acquaintance of mine noted this this music would be a good soundtrack for massage or yoga. Whatever it was, it helped clean out the noise of the city and prepare me for three wondrous days of music at Fuji Rock.
Many left the set thoroughly invigorated, enjoying a momentary trip to the mountain kingdom of Nepal. Upendra and friends and Mr. Sunil are an important tradition at Fuji Rock every year, and I am a devotee who truly enjoys their performances each year and look forward to the next time I can catch up with these old friends.