Bipul Chettri and his Traveling Band made a triumphant return to New York City last night playing a sold out 16 song set at the Melrose Ballroom in Astoria, Queens. For those of us lucky enough to see him for the second time in the Big Apple the show was a jubilant return to NYC for the Kalimpong born and raised, supremely talented Nepali singer/songwriter/composer and his formidable band.
Playing a mixture of his classic hits from his first two albums Bipul and the band started with a rollicking version of ‘Allarey Jovan’ then moved on to the sublime ‘Wildfire’ then slipped easily into the breezy ‘Siriri’ and the buoyant ‘Mero Maya.’ Considering that most of the New York City crowd had not heard songs from his second album: Maya, performed live, the audience was euphoric and in a jubilant mood. The devastatingly tender ‘Ram Sailee’ was followed by the melancholically beautiful ‘Nau Lakhey Tara.’ By the time Bipul and the band started on their breakout hit ‘Syndicate’ the crowd was bouncing in unison.
Music that resonates with the soul has the magic to bring people together – it is a remarkable social glue that communities are formed on. The concert last night brought everyone at the venue closer and more connected because of the experience of singing and dancing and laughing with one another. And for a still young Nepali diaspora in NYC, evenings like this remind us of our similarities, our Nepaliness and our shared heritage – no matter what Nepali speaking part of the world we come from. So thank you to Bipul and Pranai and Kiran and Rahul and Achint and Aman and Binaya for the special gift you have shared with us. Keep making beautiful music!