A UNIVERSE OF RHYTHM AND SOUL by Dr. Lochan Rijal
About A UNIVERSE OF RHYTHM AND SOUL by Dr. Lochan Rijal
Music is an oyster of pearls. It represents arts and culture, human emotions, life and experiences, spirituality, knowledge and language that is unlimited. Music has the way of transcending the cultural and geographical boundaries, bridging connectivity, spreading harmony and serving humanity across one country to another and making this world an orchestra for us to rejoice. Such is the power of music and those who create it. The depth of music is so deep, so enriching and soothing that it became the food of our
life. The personality associated to this genre is a privilege to our nation and heritage. We are talking of non-other than ethnomusicologist, multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer Dr. Lochan Rijal. He is not only a professional musician but also an educator as an assistant professor at Kathmandu University School of Arts, Department of Music. This institute is located at Bhaktapur district where till date students from thirty five different countries have studied at the music department so far. Dr. Rijal composes music on Sarangi, Arbajo and Guitar. He has travelled across countries mainly South East Asia with ethno musicians promoting our traditional musical instruments and folk music.
Dr. Rijal cites music can be defined in various number of ways, it is simple and yet broad in terms of meaning and definition. It is the expression of an artist's idea, emotions, technically we can say it is the intangible form of arts and can be associated with economic, technical, social and scientific aspects. Born in Panchthar district - far eastern part of Nepal, his father was well educated man and he draws inspiration from his father, he grew at a place where agriculture was predominantly the occupation of the people around him. He saw music as a part of rituals and festivals in our society e.g. rai, limbus and damai. It is a tradition in our culture to mark any auspicious occasion and also at the time of death where music is created to either rejoice or mourn over the loss and grief. During his childhood at school he never decided of making music his career but had a passion for it. From, professional standpoint also he never conceived of going so far as an ethnomusicologist. He was a science student at higher secondary level and wanted to study medicine. He started out in an ordinary way, he wrote about eight songs at classes eight and nine and tried to capture it by recording his compositions in tape recorder on his own. At that time, pop music was the it- factor and people from POP-MANDU show with Sunil Bardewa and Nabin Bhattarai put forth his talent and skills of music which was immensely appreciated. He became popular in the media and shows like Hits FM Music awards. Technological part like tape recording, sound mixing, audio making etc. drew him towards this culture.
During his lifetime he realized that Nepalese carry a unity in thinking and understanding so they are struggling together in their field to fulfill their dreams in front of common audience this made him feel that he was at core a true Nepali citizen. He would crave for resource and wanted to run with backpacks into his quest for collection but he felt his need could be fulfilled in a channeled way under academia which would bring results and got golden an opportunity to enroll in K.U for Ph.D. studies where credits were taken from University Of Massachusetts and the university certified his endeavors. They, funded his musician teams and made field visits. He found that he was lucky enough and conducted his research from Jhapa, Kencha to Bhojpur, to Kathmandu- Banepa, to Salyan, Dang and intensified his documentation work and did Ph.D. which was apt for him.
During his research on music he used Arbajo an ethnic Nepali music instrument. Department of Music is constant researching for preserving ethno music culture and making it an important aspect of national identity. Students get polished in their craft to become music scholars and contribute to the society and cultural restoration is Dr. Rijals' viewpoint.
Being Nepalese we have gone through major transitions personally and socially. He finds people inspiring. His concepts come from our country and society. Personally, he wakes up early in the morning, loves collecting musical instruments, cooking, striving for excellence in music.
His biggest aim was making an album of his own. It was a huge learning opportunity for him. His upcoming album is, "Kancho Awaz" he have used different variety of music instruments including Korean music which came from learning experience. He has also used international music scholars playing drums and the words of the song talks about his life and about us in a timeline.
Musician Lochan Rijal is recognized for his astonishing Nepali ethnic melody. Hailing from Panchthar District, he even made his way to the vigorous doctorate in Ethnomusicology from University of Massachusetts, USA in collaboration with Kathmandu University (KU). He is the first South Asian to earn Ph. D. in ethnomusicology.