Chanda (छन्द) at this April Paleti
April 22, 2019
To those who have been familiar with Paleti’s regular musical series, this April will bring a different flavor.
Nepali Chhanda Kavita, a special genre of lyrical and metric Nepali poem, for all its melody and elegance, is now but only confined in a few pockets here and there. This literary tradition had once been the very backbone of Nepali literature. However, since this tradition can only be effectively passed on orally, the present investment and obsession with print words has put it in a shadow.
So this Spring – Paleti will present this treasure trove with its audiences.
Of many unexplored goldmines of melodies in Nepal, Chhanda poems are easily one of the most potent fields.Paleti’s driving force has always been its passion to archive and preserve the authentic melodies of Nepal.
Chhanda Retrospective will celebrate selected works of some of the pioneers in the field including Somnath Sigdhyal, Lekhnath Poudel, Laxmi Prasad Devkota, Madhav Prasad Ghimire to name a few.
The tradition of sung verses is not unique to Nepal. Before the advent of printing press, most of the texts all over the world were composed in lyrical verses, as their melodies made it easier to remember them. From the lyrical ballads to the Chhanda poems, these oral traditions preserved the history of human antiquity. Naturally, since the stories or the messages had to be told in songs, they had to be brief and compact. But because of this density, these poems are particularly rich in terms of their literary value. But for long, Nepali Chhanda tradition has not been given due attention. And of course, given how broad the tradition is, the Paleti series can only be an appetizer at the most.
The idea of organizing a Chanda special Paleti started with the Paleti team discovering a series of Chanda recitation on social media by Bhushita Vasistha.
Bhushita, a writer by profession, had simply been trying to archive the melodies that had been indispensable part of her childhood. Growing up in a household, where Chhanda poems slipped into everyday conversation – either to admonish her or to inculcate ‘good habits’, the poems opened up a strange, lyrical world, where even the harshest things could put on the garb of elegance. Many years later, when the harshness of adult world would come to sting her again, she sought comfort in rediscovering these melodies again. However, now trained as English literature student, she not only found the melodies endearing, but also was equally baffled by the technical and literary brilliance of the texts.
“Chanda Kavita are Metric poem,” says Bhushita, who is pursuing the genre not as an academic but simply as an enthusiast. “Just like there are iambic, dactyl meters in English, there are different meters in Nepali that are based on both rhythm and stress. There are as many as hundreds of variations to these meters in Nepali Chhanda Poetry tradition,” she adds. “For example Pachachamar Chhanda is Iambic Octameter in English literary tradition.
Naturally, it isn’t easy to choose from among thousands of text, where each of it deserves a serious study of its own. However, we have chosen a few classics. Aavaas, a bona fide composer in his own right, has agreed to compose these poems musically.
“I am glad to have this opportunity to work with Chandas from a musical angle,” says musician Aavaas. “I am discovering newer angles and depths which I had not realized before.” He added.
The Chanda editon of Paleti coincides with the Chanda Diwas recently organized nationwide on 21st of April (8th Baishak).
Chanda Paleti will be organsied at Paleti’s regular venue, nepa~laya’s ‘r’ sala at Kalikasthan during 26th, 27th, and 28th of April, 2019. Ticket booking can be done through Paleti’s social media pages and through nepa~laya. Online booking and purchase can also be made through www.thrupai.com