Chapter 3: Songs with Consequences?

Mela, Mahotsav, Songfest: Gatherings for song, dance, religious ritual, commerce, agricultural activities, and sensual exchanges. Here are some varied examples. At the festivals with stage programs, there are always small groups that form to sing and dance, around the periphery of the main performance space, lasting long after the stage performances are through.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The playlist below contains some short videos of songfest dohori taken by me, and some music videos depicting the genres of deuda in the far west and hakpare in the eastern hills. The places where deuda and hakpare are performed often have secret songfests in addition to the public ones depicted in the commercial videos.

  1. Tamang Selo Dohori Srawan Sakranti 2007: At the Buddhist stupa, Swayambhunath, people come from miles around to celebrate the holiday marking the first day of the month of Srawan. This group is singing in the Tamang language, in a song style known broadly as Tamang Selo.
  2. ¬†Launa Ghar Ta Chhauni Ma [Well, My Home’s in Chhauni], Srawan Sakranti 2007: A little ways away at the same celebration at Swayambhunath, this group was singing dohori and dancing to this Kathe Git song.
  3. Hong Kong ID Le [With a Hong Kong ID]: This western hills style dohori song from Dhaulagiri Cassette Center, sung by Milan Lama, Bima Kumari Dura, and Sunu Chepang, provides a paradigmatic example of how one might tease a song-partner in its first two couplets (Singing Across Divides p. 80).
  4. This deuda song sung by Prakash Thapa and Harina Saund illustrates the round dance characteristic of deuda songs in the far west. For more on deuda, see my article “Changing the Sound of Nationalism in Nepal: Deuda and the Far West” (South Asian Popular Culture, 2012), and for similar round dance-songs in the neighboring regions of Kumaon and Garhwal in India, see Stefan Fiol, Recasting Folk in the Himalayas: Indian Music, Media, and Social Mobility (Indiana, 2017). This song is in the Doteli language.
  5. This hakpare song sung by the Arun Valley Cultural Group, led by Navin Khadka of Khandbari, Sankhuwasabha, aims to provide a representative model of the genre and how it can be performed. Singers are well-known local performers, rather than professional studio singers.