Arthur was around 8 years old in 2005 when he first picked up the guitar, a generic nylon stringed classical. The year began ominously with King Gyanendra’s coup in Februrary. Public gatherings were banned, normal life disrupted. Thamel went silent. Sometime that year Robin n’ Looza: disbanded. But as that star dimmed, another lit up: Albatross released its Jo Jas Sanga Sambandhit Cha that took Nepali music by storm, producing instant and enduring hits like Timi Bhane and Khasey Ka Tara. The two singles became inescapable on the radio airwaves and at concerts.
As Dibesh entered his early teens, falling ever more in love with music, he would find himself in a Nepal with a rich history of rock music, a vibrant live music culture, and young Nepali artists doing things not done before — like New York based Diwas Gurung’s 2009 album Rato Mato, filled with brilliant renditions of Nepali folk classics.
Dibesh became an adolescent in a Nepal in which being a full time musician felt like an achievable dream, one in which your parents may not reprimand you for chosing that career path. While he saw bands like Albatross go on international tours, he attended open events like street festivals to watch live performances in Kathmandu.
He regularly ended up in Thamel to lose himself in its cacophony of cover bands, which always inevitably included a CCR classic. It wasn’t until he arrived in the United States that he attended his first real concert, a three-hour drive away from where he lived.
Very early in American Idol, when the judges asked Arthur Gunn to perform a second song so they could gauge him better, he intuitively dove into a cover of CCR’s Have You Ever Seen The Rain. The American classic from 1970 has had an eternal life in Kathmandu’s live music scene year after year, generation after generation.
Instantaneously, as Arthur soared through the verse and into the chorus on the American Idol stage, he made the iconic song his own. Without quite realising, he was performing a song that has forever been a part of Nepali rock history.And unknown to him at the time, it was about to change his future.
Arthur was destined for a successful life in music. His Nepali folk rock songs from 2018 and 2019 make it clear it was only a matter of time before a larger audience discovered him. Or he found a way to take himself to them. On American Idol, all of that happened, and more.
This Sunday on 17 May, audiences will get to vote and pick the American Idol winner after the finale begins.
One last Nepali music history note: since Prashant Tamang entered Indian Idol in 2007, Nepalis have shown time and again they take voting for the contestant of their choice extremely seriously. Still, regardless of the outcome, Arthur is now Nepal’s undisputed first international crossover artist and has written a new chapter in the history of Nepali rock music.
More importantly, regardless of his heritage, he has proven to be an exceptional talent who clearly stands out even among a group of other superbly talented competitors.A star was born in Nepal 22 years ago. Now he shines on the world’s stage.
Arthur Gunn Puts an INCREDIBLE Spin on a Creedence Clearwater Revival Classic – American Idol 2020
Arthur Gunn – Girl from the north country (Bob Dylan Cover)
Arthur Gunn – Nyano Ghar – Saal Session ep -4
To vote for Arthur Gunn: https://idolvote.abc.com/
Kashish Das Shrestha has written about youth and music culture in Nepal since 1997. Twitter, Instagram: @Kashishds