Evolving readily into a musical hub, Kathmandu has strings strumming freely and percussion playing different grooves in every corner of town.
A tour from one corner of Kathmandu to another looking for live music wouldn’t be much of a problem. Music enthusiasts will be amazed by the variance Kathmandu has got to provide besides traditional tunes.
It wouldn’t be fair to not start off with the city’s tourist hub – Thamel. The place is an absolute favorite for many, not the least for the other factors that make for a great time – plenty of cool locations, great choices in cuisines and well stocked watering holes. Each place of course has its own charms. For a stereotypical Thamel groove seeker, the popular House of Music located in Bhagwan Bahal opposite the Belgian consulate. Despite the cramped settings, the bar, dedicated to music and musicians stands out as the most popular music junction forth regular Friday night performances by local rock groups. Their house band Ramshackle plays on Tuesdays. The performance floor is a no smoking area and requires a basic cover charge during shows.
Kathmandu’s north side also houses Jazz Upstairs, the legendary jazz landmark restaurant and bar in Lazimpat. A jazz bar through which Nepali jazz band Cadenza made its presence felt locally and also went on to win international acclaim. Having said that, Kathmandu is only catching on to jazz and the rock, pop and metal scene is more progressive. Festivals like Jazzmandu and Himalayan Jazz Festival should change this in the coming days. For rock and metal acts, the best audiences and locations would have to be under the open skies at Jawalakhel football ground, Bhrikuti Mandap, Mahendra Police Club and the capital’s only stadium Dashrath Rangasala. Jawalakhel football grounds have witnessed international rock bands perform while Dasrath Rangasala has hosted pop acts like Bryan Adams.
Thamel’s counterpart in Lalitpur is the restaurant lane of Jhamsikhel. Here Moksh is growing as a popular place for music lovers where you have the choice of great food along with great bands. Ever since its establishment, the spacious eatery has proved itself of being a musical hub to many. If you’re not one for mainstream music, check in to the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory auditorium located in the same premises as Moksh. KJC is guaranteed bait to satisfy the desire for funk and jazz when there are shows happening. Contrary to Thamel’s live music locations however, Moksh bills are steeper.
And not to forget the music that defines the culture Kathmandu holds, the traditional shows mostly happening in the regal durbar squares in all three ancient kingdoms. Even thought most shows are free, its only during special occasions that you get to hear the ustads play.