KANDARA, a musical band was formed by a small group of youth from Pokhara. In 1994, songs such as “Chanchale Kaanchi,” helped raise Kandara to heights of popularity. “Zindagi ko utsav…, Hong Kong Pokhara and Leka ki Hey Maya…” were greatly appreciated by listeners causing the lead vocalist, Bivek Shrestha to be quite a hot cake among his fans. Bivek was offered the chance to perform in many musical events abroad, which also kept him very busy. However, at the height of his musical career he suddenly had to leave for London. Nevertheless, his love for music did not leave him and he was consistent in practicing music and singing. After more than a decade abroad, Bivek has returned to Nepal to rejuvenate ‘Kandara’ with a brand new album. We met this talented and dedicated singer after thirteen years! Here are some excerpts from our interesting conversation:

Bivek Shrestha

Bivek Shrestha | Kandara | Photo Courtesy: Suraj Shrestha

# You were at the height of your musical career when you went abroad…?
In my songs I have mentioned about this point in my life, but it really was just a coincidence. I left because I missed my family who were residing there. However, even when away I continued my music and singing.

# How was life abroad?
I was very active in pursuing my love of music and singing. I traveled to variousEuropean countries to perform in solo concerts and organized similar events too. I established KAPC (Kandara Art Performing Centre) in the UK as well where I taught Nepali music and dance to children of Nepalese nationals. I taught them old and soulful songs of Nepali Legends, and this gave me great satisfaction.


# Why did you teach the children only old Nepali songs?
Because such songs should be passed down to our younger generations to immortalize the creations of our Nepali masters, and I also wanted to build a bridge between the old and new generation.

# Apart from music, were you involved in other activities?
I worked in a reputed company for eight years that provided me with comfortable earnings and facilities. However, even with all these perks I left my job to completely focus on my true passion, which is music and singing. I spent almost all my time then in teaching and organizing music events.

# Compared to other bands, what would you say is unique about Kandara?
We are more of a folk-pop musical band. We write our own lyrics and compose our music as well. I think other musical bands give more importance to outside composers, however, we prefer to do everything ourselves.

# You have returned Nepal after more than a decade! How are you preparing yourself regarding venturing into singing again?
My band members, Buddha, Sunil and I are busy in bringing out a new album. We are rejuvenating Kandara, and are occupied with recordings. Hopefully this Baisakh!

# These days, we can see a lot of new bands and singers… are you feeling the competition?
There are, indeed, many new bands and singers. However, I believe that Kandara well-wishers are in equal number. We were, and will be a unique folk-pop band. Folk-pop melodies are evergreen. And I have faith this will take us far.

# A Nepali legend you most admire…?
Narayan Gopal and Gopal Yonjon, I am the biggest fan of both of them. The duo’s combination is nothing short of music from paradise.

# What new can Kandara fans expect from the upcoming venture?
We are soon bringing out on Youtube Channel of Kandara. We are also going to bring in a new trend where we will show our music video while it is being made!

# Would you like to leave a message for you fans?
Even when abroad for all these years, memories of Nepal pained me, and hence my love for music and country brought me back. The same way my audience has missed me, so have I. Their love has brought me back home for good. Kandara will soon be out with a new album, I hope it will once again, succeed in winning your unconditional love.

Kandara’s Album Collection:
1994: Chanchale Kaanchi
1996: DandaPaari
1998: Hong Kong Pokhara
2001: Utsav (Solo)
2006: BarsauPachi

Kandara’s Greatest Hits:
1) Chanchale Kaanchi…
2) Timi Paari tyo Gau ma…
3) Hong Kong Pokhara…
4) Kahaanhi deki kun thauma…
5) Leka ki hey maya…
6) Bideshiyera gayin uni…
7) Tagaroma rumaal raakhi…
8) Zindagi you utsav ho…

by – JayanSubbaManandhar