Taremaam, the official soundtrack for the upcoming film Karkash, directed by Asif Shah, has been performed by Karma Band. Why? “There couldn’t have been a better option than Karma band,” says Shah. “Karkash is a film about a rock band that performs in Thamel. The film has an element of Newari culture. Karma Band can effectively bring these two elements together, as they have been doing this for a long time now. Keeping these two elements in mind, the song was penned by Ranjit Acharya. Everyone can see the outcome now—it has come out to be a catchy tune making the song very popular.”
Karma band has been known for such an intermingling. Not just for the sound track of Karkash, but from their very first album Sahar Timro. The band’s music, lyric and the peculiar stylization that Surendra Man Singh, the vocalist brings—they all give a good flavor of folk tunes mixed intelligently with rock rhythms.
From Yo Kasto Rela Ho included in the first album Sahar Timro to the recent Taremaam included in the latest album Naya Sapana, Karma Band features Newari folk tunes, musical instruments and vocal styles as well. The well received song Hukka Mero from their album Hukka received much attention not just for the music, style and uniquely morphed vocals, but also for the music video shot in the old Newari alleyways of Kirtipur. Following up, Karma Band’s third album SMS had Kahan Hola Ghar Baar, which again featured folk music. The song’s music video is one of the most watched Nepali music videos on YouTube, even to this date.
Karma Band currently comprises of Surendra Man Singh, with Pramod and Basudev on guitars, Deepak on bass guitars, and Anil and Prashant on drums and percussions. The band was originally formed with four members in the group in 1996. Success has not come easy to Karma band as the first album was released only years later in 1999. And even though the album helped Karma Band gain momentum in the industry, the band dismembered after two founding members left for studies abroad.
Three new members to the team were added much later giving shape to Karma Band in the form that it is today. Surendra Man Singh says, “We have worked hard to be here—being counted as one of the most followed bands in Nepal. But that’s not all. Our culture has been lucky for us. Had we never experimented with fusion music, we could not have reached this level.”
Newari folk tunes are not the only source of inspiration for Karma band. The band’s latest hit Yadi from the album Naya Sapana experiments with reggae fusion, while Taremaam still remains true to the roots as it has a Newari flavor and even uses Newari instruments.
What’s the future for Karma then? Surendra Man Singh says, “Music is a part of our identity. But to make a commercial note, we are content. The band is constantly trying to give back to the society from which we take much inspiration. We are keen on becoming socially and culturally responsible as well.” !