22 January 2015—The eyes of millions are glued towards the doors of the Constituent Assembly hall, in the hopes that what the country has been looking forward to for such a long time finally takes place. Hope is all we have left. And paying tribute to that undying candle, that unwavering gleam of hope is the Nep-Hop outfit, The Unity, with their newest single ‘Asha Ajhai Mareko Chaina’
Windows are shattering. Flames are burning. A woman cries in angst. A child drops a tear in utmost isolation. Smoke presses heavy against the chest.
These were the scenes being shot on location for the Nep-Hop outfit, The Unity’s latest track, Asha Ajhai Mareko Chaina. Creative extravaganzas for a music video, perhaps, but the exemplifications aren’t derived from pages of Marxist books—these are real oppressed feelings that Nepali people are now living, day in and day out.
Asif Shah of The Unity remembers the day he sourced the lyrics. “Our friend, lyricist Abeeral Thapa, had posted those few lines that now make the refrain to this song,” he says. “I could instantly relate to the words because the country, the people, the entire system is based on a hope that we might find an outlet by the time the Constituent Assembly drafting ends. We don’t know when that day is, but asha—the hope—among all the divided, segregated, oppressed and diffident mentalities within the subjugated are, however, living relentlessly.”
Asha Ajhai is an expressionist song. Structurally, the number uses an emcee technique called ‘follow-up’, which, according to rapper AidRay, another member of The Unity, is used heavily in songs of this kind. “By definition, expressionist songs have more to do with the sense and the mood of the track rather than repeating it word-by-word,” he explains. “This is done so that the audience can interact with us when we perform it on stage, making them feel like they’re more involved than we are.”
Asha Ajhai uses two catchphrases: “Timro” and “Kati?”, shaped up by music producer Rajan Ishan in such a way that they sound like revolting cheers heard in a mob demonstration. AidRay believes that a higher nirvana has been achieved for the outfit, and The Unity is singlehandedly bringing a revolution in Nep-Hop, shifting the gear up from lyrically driven romanticism or in most cases: vulgarity. The Unity, remaining true to its nomenclature, is now truly unified in standing for what is real and issue-based. “We have done commercial numbers in the past—Pahilo Maya made a huge impact and we followed it up with Juni Juni, Prem Ani Aago, Samjhana and other equally catchy tunes. But with songs like Aviyukta and the Asha Ajhai, we are bringing the factual essence of hip-hop. We want to give the new generation of hip-hop artists an example to remember: Rap is not about standing on someone’s grill and shouting profanities at each others’ faces. Rap is for revolution. Rap is a howl of your innermost beast that had been sleeping for way too long,” he says.
The Unity spent an entire six months on Asha Ajhai, from working on the lyrics to the shooting of the music video. “Good food takes time to prepare,” says Rajan Ishan, the producer, composer, and arranger of the song. “We wanted to come up with a number that would make us proud. The Unity also wanted to contribute something to the way society is today. If you asked us what we’ve done for the country, we can now say, ‘this song’!”
The music video will be broadcasted for general viewing marking the fateful day of 22 January 2015. “This is probably the most important time for us to stand together,” says Asif. “We have let the fate of our country, and the foundation of our future, be exploited far too much. We are the ghosts of our forefathers, merely drifting where inconsistency takes us. We let others take credit for even the smallest good that we do. With the hope that our future is resting on solid ground, we want our countrymen to realize that we can stand only if we are united!”