Thursday May 19, 2022
Thursday May 19, 2022

Future of ‘Music Museum’ uncertain


Nepalnews
2021 Dec 29, 7:42,
Damai Galley in Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

In order to preserve the classical instrument, Ram Prasad Kadel began a collection of traditional folk musical instruments in 1995 AD. In 1997, the Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum (NFMIM) was established as a non-profit organization with the Nepalese government.

Starting with the collection of Shankh (an instrument made of a conch shell), Kadel decided to open the doors to the public in temporary premises at Bhadrakali Temple, center Kathmandu in 2002. As the collection grew, the museum was moved to Tripureshwor Mahadev Temple and renamed as Music Museum of Nepal in 2007.

Bijay Pariyar
Bijay Pariyar

Bijay Pariyar, who has been working in the museum for 10 years, said, “ Over the years, more than 655 different ‘Lok Baja' were found in Nepal. We actually display around 200 instruments in our museum because the space is small. And we keep on changing the instruments that are displayed.”

“Many also donate old instruments to the museum. While we are very thankful for the support, the reality behind why we get the donation is rather a sad one. As the new generation has shifted their interests into western music, the older generation prefers to preserve the old musical instruments in the museum rather than letting them get damaged and stored away where nobody will ever see them again,” says Pariyar. He adds on how the upcoming generation has less information about the ancestral instruments and their significance in the Nepali culture and tradition.

At the present, the local instruments have been overshadowed by western music to such a degree that the youths rarely recognize traditional instruments anymore. The only instruments they know are the most mainstream ones such as madal, flute, tabla and panchebaja. There are numbers of instruments that many claim to have never even seen in their entire lives

Pariyar says, “As our slogan states “One Nepali, one musical instrument” (Ek Nepali, Ek Baja), if each individual learns about traditional instruments, we don’t even need a museum to preserve it.”

Before COVID-19 hit the nation, the museum used to have two to three schools per day for an academic visit. “Most of the students were also enthusiastic to learn about the instruments like Murchunga, Sarangi, Maadal etc. We told them stories and also taught them how to use it. We also had tourists come in for research but after covid, we rarely get visitors.”

There are two musical gallery sections in the museum, namely- Gandharva and Damai gallery. Explaining the pictures, Pariyar says, “A researcher, Carolitin, once visited Nepal and took some rare pictures of musicians with the instruments which can be seen in Damai gallery. In Gandharva gallery, there is a collection of Sarangi’s which used to be played by only Gandarvas. Though all the Sarangi looked the same they do have different names, different sounds, and different ways of playing.”

Pariyar said, “We organize ‘International Folk Music Festival’ every November each year since 2011. This event is to promote instruments that are on the verge of extinction.”

However, over the years of reminding people about folklore and traditional instruments, the museum and building are set to go under a new ownership. Kathmandu University has acquired the premises and is looking to convert the museum into their music department.


Gandharva gallery in Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Gandharva gallery in Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Damai Galley in Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews
Damai Galley in Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum. Photo: Prasan Gurung/Nepalnews

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Music Museum Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum Nepal Music Folk Music culture Traditional Music Lifestyle preservation music Preservation
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