|Singer Banika Pradhan.|
The exodus of musical talent has continued down the years although the quality and genius may not have retained their exalted status, but some newcomers or rather, new-goers, are worthy of praise. For instance, Pushpan Pradhan, the vocalist of a band called Vaani, has become quite popular and bagged several awards in Nepal. He says his band had to endure quite trying times to come to the top in that Himalayan nation.
Pushpan comes from a middle-class family from a remote tea garden in the Dooars, while band member Uttam Gautam (rhythm guitar) is from Bagdogra and Sonam Pappu Lepcha (lead guitar) is from Jalpaiguri. Vaani was formed in 2012 and has since worked its way up quite commendably.
The Nepali-Sufi fusion song ‘Dhin Dhina’ by Vaani won the prestigious Image Band of the Year award this year at the Star FM Music Awards. The song continued to remain a hit and topped the charts in the Kripa Unplugged Season One aired on Terai Television last year. Vaani is now shooting for Season Two and it will be aired in Nepal’s premier channel, Kantipur Television.
|Vaani band members with their coveted trophy.|
Another upcoming playback singer in Nepal is Banika Pradhan, whose original home is in Longview Tea Garden of Kurseong sub-division. Banika said neither the West Bengal government nor the local administration took notice of her singing talent even when she was clinching awards at a number of local functions. Incidentally, Banika is winner of the Himalayan Idol singing competition hosted in Darjeeling.
She has already sung more than a dozen of songs in Nepali movies and has several music albums to her credit. Unfortunately, a lot of money needs to be to invested to gain popularity in this field, says Banika.
Some Indian Nepali musicians and singers from Sikkim and Darjeeling who have attained legendary status are Aruna Lama, Gopal Yonzon, Binod Syangden, Hira Devi Waiba, Ranjeet Gajmer, Tulsi Ghimirey, Danny Dengzongpa, Suresh Kumar Chhetri, Uday Sotang and Manila Sotang and Prashant Tamang.