A recent piece by Amar Gurung, chief archivist at Nepal’s Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya, highlights the recent return of a rich collection of Nepali music (“Songs of our times”, Nepali Times, 9 December). The recordings, transcriptions, and instruments — all gathered by Terence Bech, a Peace Corps volunteer to Nepal from 1964 to 1966 — was housed at Indiana University. Bech, an explorer, mountaineer, and sailor, gave Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya (an archival center in Patan, and a partner in Hri’s Archives project) permission to take copies of the collection. This will be an invaluable resource for ethnomusicologists, anthropologists, and ordinary citizens alike. (Visit the article for links to two songs recorded by Terence Bech.)
It was with Bech’s sense of curiousity that last year, Hri set out on the Music on the Move project. We wanted to document Gandharva musical traditions, as well as to understand the socioeconomic and cultural events that have led to changes in musical style and community structures. Some of our recordings and videos may be found here. We hope this documentation, too, will be a resource for musicians – Gandharva and otherwise – and that it will contribute to an enriched understanding of social life and cultural production in Nepal.