Friday, March 23, 2007

My amazing day in Kathmandu

A couple of days ago I met a woman at my guest house who turned out to be an anthropologist from Cornell here working a short research project. Previously she's focused on the people of Mustang and Dolpo, ethnic groups more closely related to Tibetans than to Nepalis. When I told her that I was here studying thangka she asked if I had heard of an artist by the name of Tenzin Norbu, whom she said has gained some notoriety in Europe and North America for painting landscapes of the Dolpo region in a style similar to thangka, which are the kind of paintings he started training with as a young man.

She also mentioned a gallery in Thamel, the tourist area of the city, that sells his work and when I was down in that area yesterday I happened to run across it. Wasn't looking for it, just passed by it and saw some interesting work on display and when I checked the name of the artist - it was Tenzin. So I go in and look at some more work and talk to the sales clerk a bit and when he finds I'm staying in the same area where he himself lives, and where Tenzin lives, he asks if I'd like to meet him.

So we met this morning at 7:00 and walked over to Tenzin's house. His wife served tea and we sat around and chatted for an hour or so. Got to see a number of paintings and had the opportunity to talk to him about the possibility of introducing his work into Japan. And I also found out that the anthropologist is the writer of this children's book project on which they collaborated:

Clear Sky, Red Earth

I returned to my guesthouse and called Sundar Shrestha, the producer of a locally recorded cd. I had found his music at a cd shop - and his email on his cd - and had written to see if he might like to sell his cd at CDJam. We met up for coffee to discuss CDJam and in the process I find out he's the exclusive distributor in Nepal for a number of recording equipment manufacturers and has himself helped set up more than 100 recording studios in Kathmandu. I mentioned that besides my cd shop and radio show, I also do a bit of voice work in Japan and ask if he can't introduce me to someone who might help me get a little work here.

The more we talked the more ideas started to percolate. He drove me over to meet DJ Santosh, who is supposed to be the hot remixer in Kathmandu and we did a little bit of recording with the idea of producing a demo cd that Sundar can shop around to radio, tv, and film producers. When I finally got back home late this afternoon, I confirmed that Santosh is indeed what he claims to be. I asked a young man who has a music shop here in Boudha, a guy whom I've spoken to on many days while walking through town, if he knew DJ Santosh, which generated a are-you-kidding? reply.

DJ Santosh: Addiction 2

Santosh has invited me back to the studio to do a little more work with some music he's mixing now. If time permits, I hope to do so.

Besides having the chance to meet all these amazing people in one day, and to meet them without first knowing who they were or without any idea of meeting them, has been quite a high, which has been kicked into even higher gear by talk of all the possibilities of future projects and collaborations.

Maybe the most amazing day I've yet had in Kathmandu.


1 comment:

  1. Hey Jeff, sorry I haven't been commenting much, but I have been enjoying your blog. I put up a link to it on my blog, here: