Spreading like wildfire

Music Issue 143 Oct, 2013
Text by Ujeena Rana

Darjeeling singer’s singles capture the imagination of Nepali music lovers in the mood for quality Nepali folk music

What I have gathered from my e-mail and Facebook correspondence with Bipul Chettri is that he is not much of a talker. He mostly sends one-liner answers to a host of questions I direct to his inbox. The man doesn’t make my job easy. Nonetheless, he makes music that demands us to revisit our fondness for Nepali songs.

Not many people realize their calling in life Bipul however confesses, “Since my school days it was clear to me that music was what I wanted to do.” The revelation came early on. As with most people, he too started with rock music and “as I grew up I ventured into other forms like blues, jazz, folk, country and classical music,” he says, reminiscing of older days.
His songs demand us putting them on repeat. Once is never enough when you give audience to his numbers. Both of his popular songs - Wildfire and Asaar, are heavily nostalgic. Nature plays a prominent part in both. Bipul is a romantic at heart – that’s why his songs are so reflective. Its clear from his lyrics that his songs are a homage to the place he grew up to love and eventually forsake. And his subjects are very relatable - everyone is a nomad in today’s world, we have loved a place or a person and have had to let go of it/him/her at some point or the other. We long for the good old days, we are who we are because of our past. Darjeeling made Bipul the fantastic poet that he is today. It all boils down to the place you come from. Bipul rightly asserts that every particle of Darjeeling breathes of creativity and an honest love for music - like they say, music is in the air in Darjeeling.

Both of his songs were first released on SoundCloud, a music sharing website and received instantaneous public praise. Everyone had but good things to say about them. The multitude of comments his songs received on SoundCloud are symbolic of his listeners’ warm repsponse to Bipul from the Nepali music scene. It hinted, not so subtly at the fact that he had earned an army of fans here. Interestingly, he writes, composes and sings all his songs. After Wildfire, his first release, just to prove that he isn’t a one-hit-wonder, he poured in more effort, dedication and creativity and produced Asaar, which was equally popular if not more. “These numbers are a part of my debut album titled Sketches of Darjeeling. The album is scheduled to be out by early next year. In all the songs in this album, I am exploring the different elements that make the place Darjeeling... the culture, the people, the mountains, the weather...” The album will be a New Year bonanza to his loyal fans.

Sketches of Darjeeling has mostly Nepali folk rock and every song captures a different element. There will probably be an English number as well, says Bipul, adding “…I guess you’ll have to wait and see”. Wait we will.