Kind of music for kindnessGrammy-nominee Manose concert in Kathmandu in aid of Türkiye-Syria Earthquake
Manose Newa was just eight, growing up in Kathmandu, when a haunting, mysterious sound came through the night and stirred his soul. As he grew up, he searched for that sound, and only the sound of air being blown through a hole in a bamboo pipe came close to what he heard that night.
It was not the same sound, but close enough. And that is what today has made musician Manose synonymous with the flute.
“The flute is a device for connection,” says Manose, “with it one can move souls, hearts, and create beauty.
A strong sense of existential fulfilment is a driving force behind Manose’s composition. At 46, he is a flute virtuoso and has played with Cadenza Collective, 1974 AD, Ani Choying and his own band, Sukarma. In 2019 he also became the first Nepali to be nominated for a Grammy for his contribution to musician Deva Premal’s album, Deva, in the Best New Age Album category.
Manose is preparing for a concern in aid of survivors of the Türkiye-Syria Earthquake last month. The ‘Samjhana: Songs for the Inner Lovers’ concert will be held 11 March at Moksh in Jhamsikhel.
“Music is instantaneous,” he snaps his fingers to recreate that lightning-speed contact between a musician and the audience happening in real time. The sound and melody of flute brings him close to the creator, spiritually and literally.
“The distance between the divine and ourselves closes. I want to translate this inspiration for my audience and inspire them in turn,” he adds.
Music came naturally to Manose from a young age as he scoured Boudha and Pashupati for that sound. In 1998 at age of 20, he left Nepal for a tour with the Nepali tabla player, Homnath Upadhayaya. He has performed in over 25 countries since, and says he is still searching for that magical sound he heard when he was eight. It is that quest that keeps him going.
“The longing itself is beautiful,” he smiles, “and it keeps the journey alive, gives me purpose. It makes me curious and motivates me.”
Manose is back in Nepal for the time being, playing with the band 1974AD and is working on projects that had been on hold previously, including an album with a pianist from Slovenia.
“After the Covid pandemic, I felt like I needed to be more present in Nepal,” he says. Manose recently performed in Australia and New Zealand with 1974AD with Australian ambassador to Nepal Felicity Volk present in one of them.
“We wanted to send a message of unity to the community there, to encourage them to give back to Nepal and make changes here as well,” he adds. The response from the Nepali diaspora there was heart-warming.
“So many do want to return, but the system …” he trails off, shaking his head.
It is a different experience to play for a Nepali audience than an international audience. Playing at a flute festival in California is an invitation to a global audience to interact with the music and culture of Nepal, to promote these internationally.
To a Nepali audience, on the other hand, the बाँसुरी becomes a means to connect and access our ancient culture, pool of knowledge and practices. “It is not whether one good and the other is bad, he adds, they are just different,” he adds.
“We have so much to offer to the world,” Manose says. “There is a lot of materialism coming from the west, and we, in turn, could present our culture, our temples, our music, history and rituals to counter that. This is our treasure.”
The concert ‘Samjhana’ is also an offering. Manose recalls running into a friend of a friend from Türkiye recently at Moksh after the deadly earthquake on 6 February.
“I said I was very sorry for what was happening to their country and that I wished there was something I could do,” he says. “They had tears in their eyes as they thanked me.”
Manose was not in Nepal when the 2015 Gorkha earthquake of the same magnitude rocked the country. “Still, I felt the tremors, it was a traumatic experience for all Nepalis, whether living here or abroad. And now to see the same is happening elsewhere in the world … I wondered what would happen if the disaster had struck here instead of Türkiye and Syria,” he says.
The concert is not so much about raising money, but to offer kindness. At the concert, Manose will be singing, playing his flute, joined also by the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory choir. Then on 18 March, 1974AD, of which Manose is a member, will perform a free concert to raise awareness on autuism at Tundikhel.
“It will be a gathering of friends, loved ones and music for a good cause,” he says. “It is important that as a community we practice being kind to each other, not turn away when someone else is in need. When you do things from a place of good intention, it comes back to you ten-folds.”
'Samjhana: Songs for the Inner Lovers'
Saturday, 11 March 2023
Ticket: Rs2,000 (Limited)
For reservation: +9779841389652
'Free Concert to Raise Awareness on Autism'
Saturday, 18 March 2023
5:00PM (please enter by 4.30pm)
Please bring your own water bottle to help reduce plastic waste. Water refills available at the venue.