Ka! Zuki: Just Do It
Ska rock band Ka! Zuki JJ’s self-titled full-length album ‘Ka! Zuki’ is an honest and timeless musical documentation of the political and cultural state of Nepal, reflecting the insignificant changes from the beginning of the millennium till now.
JJ is the rockstar we needed in the Nepali music scene; an empowering frontman who can turn a concert into a jatra. He’s got more than 20 years of experience in the music scene—starting back in 1995—and has played gigs all over Europe and played as a session musician. Besides, he has played with Nepal’s big bands such as Mukti and the Revival, Namaste band, Cobweb and Robin and the New Revolution, and in the underground scene, he has performed with band members of Jugaa, Inside 2 Stoopid Triangles, Cruentus, and the London-based fusion band Layasutra and The Missing Link.
‘Ka! Zuki’ translates to ‘Just do it’ in Newari, and the band follows the YOLO philosophy, delivering a raw yet lit performance every time. With humorous reflection of our society in their songs, Ka! Zuki JJ is a band to follow to let the good times roll.
“WITH HUMOROUS REFLECTION OF OUR SOCIETY IN THEIR SONGS, KA! ZUKI JJ IS A BAND TO FOLLOW TO LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL.”
The good thing about their performances is that they’re always well synchronised with the crowd and going with the flow. JJ plays the guitar like it’s an extension of himself, with mercurial and intense riffs, all while using only two pedals: the Uber metal and TU3, carrying two guitars for a performance as a contingency plan in case strings breaks.
Ka! Zuki JJ was formed in 2010 but has had plenty of changes from the original line-up which consists of founding member JJ on guitar and vocals. Since the EP launch, it has Suzeen Raj Bajracharya on bass and Rajeev Tuladhar on drums.
Their ten-track album ‘Ka! Zuki’, releasing this February, was recorded over the span of 10 years, and besides the current band members, the album has a long list of contributors, including Allan Shrestha and Bibek Tamang on drums, Shyam Maharjan and Roshan Kansakar on bass, and Dipesh Singh, Sanjay Dongol and Alice Shrestha on guitars.
For the song ‘Bhaisiko Masu’, Sabin Maharjan plays the dhime and Anish Maharjan plays the bhusya. The songs were recorded in different studios in the UK and Nepal with sound engineered by Mauricio, Satish Sthapit, and Sagun Shrestha. The last four tracks have been recorded by Anil Rai at Anil Studios. The album cover is a live sketch of JJ by Dillip Mala.
The relentless festive track ‘Bhaisiko Masu’ is a crowd favourite, reflecting the Nepali’s love of buffalo meat. JJ persistently jots down the different varieties of meat that make Newari festivals special. The guitar riff of this song will go down as a modern classic and has a chorus you can yell out loud at the top of your voice.
“KA! ZUKI JJ’S MUSIC IS PERHAPS A LITTLE TOO CASUAL AND HAS A LET-IT-LOOSE AURA”
To reallocate some of their other catchy tunes, their song ‘Prahari’ is a revisitation of the abuse from the police faced by JJ with a memorable sing-along chorus that could land you in trouble, exploring the rebellious side of the youth. Another well known song ‘Black Out’ is about the problems faced by Nepalese over the year from the rigorous load shedding to the blockade after the earthquake. ‘Marchan Janata Yaha’ which features children singing the song is about the incompetent government which has left citizens expectations hanging on a thread. ‘Chappa Bhaire Chappa’ is the track to lookout for which is about unsafe sex which the band dedicates to ‘Saarathi Nepal’.
Ka! Zuki JJ made some brilliant performances during the recent ‘Reggae and Ska Festival’ and was something different from the prominent metal scene of Nepal. To put their music into perspective, it is perhaps a little too casual and has a let-it-loose aura. Now, the band is preparing for musical tours in Nepal (starting Shivaratri) and Europe (around October), and is all set to for a terrific launch of their album which—besides music lovers—is dedicated to the government without whom it wouldn’t have come into the present profile.