The Kahani team caught up with Chandra Bahadur Gandharbhya (Gaine) during the 3rd Confluence, Festival of Indigenous Storytellers, 2012 in Darjeeling organized by Acoustic Traiditional.
Please note that this is a live recording and the audio contains ambient sounds of the location.
Gaines are an ethnic group who belong to the central hilly region of Nepal. The Gaines make a living by singing a type of folk song and narrative tales commonly known as ‘Gaine Geet’ or ‘Gandarva Geet’.
Chandra Bahadur Gandharbhya belongs to the Pathariya village in Jhapa Jila of Nepal. All members of his village are also from the Gaine community.
The Sarangi (musical instrument) that Chandra Bahadur is playing in this recording was built by him and was carved out from the wood of a Jackfruit tree.
Chandra Bahadur plays at local festivals including the Deosire’, Kali Puja and Diwali Puja. He is also invited to weddings and religious ceremonies. Chandra Bahadur learnt the songs and art of playing the Sarangi from his father and he in turn learnt it from his father. Chandra Babu has a family of 5 with 2 sons and 2 daughters. His sons also play the Sarangi.
More About The Nepali Sarangi
Sarangi is a stringed instrument played by traditional ‘Gaine’ or ‘Gandarbha’ community of Nepal.
It is believed that Sarangi originated from Nepal. The simplistic design of the instrument made it easy to be manufactured and maintained locally. Please note that the Sarangi used by the Gaine is different in design and construction to the one used by musicians from India.
Unlike Classical Indian Sarangi, it has four strings and all of them are played. The neck and body of the instrument are made from a single piece of light wood, locally known as Khirro. The body is carved into a hollow frame with two openings. The lower opening is then covered up with dried sheep-skin. Traditionally the fine nerves from sheep’s intestine were woven to get the strings. Horse-tail hair was originally used for the bow string of the Sarangi. These days nylon strings are preferred to the sheep nerves and horse-tail hair. The instrument is placed vertically on the left knee, suspended in front of the body by means of a cord around the left shoulder, and is played with a bow.
The music produced by Sarangi, more than that of any other instrument, is believed to resemble the human voice.