A few minutes are simply not enough to talk about music with Lochan Rizal. When the singer isn’t working on his own music, he is teaching music to university students or helping design projects that are aimed at saving our Nepali musical heritage or making travel plans to cover more places in the country that he hadn’t quite managed to while working on his PhD in Ethnomusicology. It’s safe to assume the man knows a thing or two about the subject.
Besides, there is just something about his calm and polite mannerisms that make you feel he has the patience to sit and walk you through all aspects of it. Here he gives The Week a sneak peak into his playlist as well as some insight into his day-to-day commitments.
Playing music versus teaching music, how has the experience been so far?
Teaching, in many ways, is learning. Basically, you are sharing and exploring different ideas. It hasn’t been a difficult experience. I teach ethnomusicology, so there are a lot of theories and researches involved as well. Still it comes back to sharing and exploring. I also get to check out the new generation and their ideas. I’m very hopeful. We are definitely on the right track. I feel we can work on regaining our musical identity.
Is there anything you wish you knew about music at their age?
Mostly, I wish I had this exposure to the technical aspects of music that early in my life. Nepali students are privileged in this respect. The globalized culture as well as the facilities these days have put them in a position to learn, understand, and appreciate music a lot more.
There are musicians who haven’t studied music. Do you see a difference in the way you and these people work?
Skill-based music is knowledge as well. There aren’t any strict guidelines to making music. I feel those who haven’t studied music actually have bigger content. They work on the basis of their own creativity, intuition, and cultural influences. I really appreciate that.
Do you listen to your own music?
Yes, sometimes I do. In fact just recently I listened to my upcoming music. It had been several months since I worked on them. I liked it (chuckles). At the time of working on them, I wasn’t very sure of what I was doing but now listening to it, it was good to discover my own creativity. It might still take three or four months to officially release them but there are a few singles on YouTube.
Lastly, what are the next musical destinations on your travel list?
Ideally, I would like to travel all over Nepal but these things take time. I develop proper framework and methodology plus travel with equipments to record the local/ regional Nepali music and musicians that I tend to discover.
Up next, I would like to work with the Limbu and Damai community in the eastern region, the Sankhal community in the mid eastern and also travel to the far west.