Kramasha: Stepping Up
Written by Priyadarshani Shrestha | Photo by Arwind Chhetri
In ‘Boomerang Effect of Cover Mania’—an article published in June-July 2017 issue—WAVE had analyzed opinions shared by experts of Nepali music and had synopsized the results of its investigation on how cover song mania has backfired Nepali music community.
In a concluding end, we had clarified on how the trend of doing covers wasn’t bad until and unless an artist learns after being a copycat and develop into becoming an original artist. It seems that our analysis was not wrong. Kramasha is a rock/acoustic band formed in October 2013 that majorly remained active in playing covers. Now in their fourth year, the band has come up with their own album ‘Malai Bal’, and they’re gathering praises.
Rushan Shrestha, the vocalist of the 4-year old rock band, says, “We’ve learnt a lot about music and its sub-genres while doing covers. Throughout these years, we continued striving to create something on our own and establish our own identity. Finally, we’ve brought our originals on September 21.”
It all started in 2013 when Shrestha participated in a solo acoustic festival organised by SongsNepal— an audio/video production and promotion company—and got into finals. When he was informed that the final performance could include a full band, he reached out to Bipul Maharjan for guitars, Neerab Shrestha for bass and Bicky Thapa for percussions. They teamed up, performed at the final event happening the next day and won the festival. It was so spontaneous and well coordinated that each of them felt a kind of connection with each other, and this unexplainable vibe remained connected even after the show. The band started practicing together and devoted most of their time to music; ultimately becoming a busy cover band in pub culture scene. Three months after forming the band, Suzeena Shrestha (now with The Act) joined them and the five started spreading magical spells of cover music.
“Playing music as cover band was our choice to sustain the band in financial terms; but coming up with an original studio album has always been our ultimate goal,” says Bipul Maharjan, the guitarist. Shrestha adds, “Everyday routines of practicing, performing in pubs, getting busy with our own individual lives and yes of course, the financial perks from gigs, all these priorities disallowed us to write our originals. However, we always knew we had to come up with an original album. So, it took us four years to do that. But I also think it was worth working as a cover band because we got our time to evolve and improve as a band. Over the course of four years, we have succeeded in strengthening the band’s brand as well.”
Support is vital to keep musical band breathing and surviving, and Kramasha is lucky to get support ever since its inception. Support from well-wishers is obvious, but Kramasha pinpoints support coming from unexpected entities.
Percussionist Bicky Thapa says, “Bipul’s dad has been very supportive because he was the one who separated a room for us to practice. He has always encouraged us to improve. We have also received an immense support from the band Kutumba as we used to share the same practice space. We learnt to respect the music and maintain discipline from them. From them, we even learnt to handle the crowd.”
While the band is kissed with support from external factors, the support within the band is fabulous as well. Cooperation and understanding among the band members are ever living.
“Our near and dear friends always compliment that we will never disband, and we never understood it until recently,” shares Shrestha, “Very recently, Suzeena started her ownproject The Act, and we didn’t know about this even when we were shooting for ‘Malai Bal’. However, we respected her personal choice. Now, we’re back to the ‘original four’, and we’re hoping to grow bigger and closer. We will probably be doing some collaboration with other artists, but we plan to remain a four-member band from now on.” Kramasha listens to different artists from different genres, and they are touched by so many of them. Since the band hasn’t been able to clutch a particular genre or theme for the album, the band has tried their best to incorporate some social issues in their songs, and striving to make people more open-minded and sensitive to social issues.
While ‘Malai Bal’ focuses on importance of centralising oneself amidst all backbiters and leg-pullers, the ‘Aparadhi’ is the song that centres on societal perception of considering a rape victim as a criminal. Similarly, the band throws satires centred in political corruption with their song ‘Bau Ko Sampati’, while they dedicated the song ‘Khatey’ to all the street children of the country.
Having never cancelled a show even in difficult circumstances and awkward situations, Kramasha has always stayed true to their dream, and they have finally achieved it. With further future plans of a nationwide tour and more new original music, the band is keeping up with their core