Madal Folk Instrument of Nepal

Music Issue 61 Jul, 2010
Text by Roshan Gurung

The ‘madal’, pronounced ‘maadal’ is an incredible in strument belonging to the folk traditions of Nepal and this album entitled “Madal” has tried to capture its essence and importance with emphasis on rhythm. Most folk songs are accompanied by a madal, and it’s only natural to immediately think ‘folk’ the moment one hears the sound of this percussion instrument. In fact, of all the percussion instruments, this is the one most suited to accompany a song. Its sound being full and resounding, there is no emptiness in the overall sound. Another interesting fact is that among traditional Nepali musical instruments, this is one of the most developed as far as playing technique is concerned.

There are countless variations and beats. It also dictates the feel of the music in folk melodies. The music in the album varies from track to track and the lead instrument is often the flute, sarangi or mandolin/banjo. The album features Krishna Gurung on flute, Kharka Bdr. Budha on madal, Krishna Gandarva on sarangi, Manohar Sunam on mandolin/banjo and Amul Karki Dhali on clarinet. The madal has the power to push people to dance and there are many folk dances that are based on the beat of this instrument. An interesting aspect of madal playing is the change of tempo. Every now and then, the madal player suddenly plays double time and the fast tempo gives people the urge to get up and dance. Just as suddenly it slows down to a lovely beat and the melody follows suit. The album has melodies from various ethnic groups encompassing the rich cultural heritage of the Nepali people.

CD Courtesy: Muzik Lounge, Thamel,
Ph: 4266080