Happy new year everybody! (Although it still is 2066 in Nepali year :-)).
I must say that the year is taking on very nicely. I know that I have been a terrible blogwriter, but I guess that is mostly because I am enjoying my life so much here that I don't have time to sit down and write about it! However, I will try to do better!
Today I have taken two hours of eastern vocal class, and it is so much fun! The vocal classes differs a lot from the way I teach in western. I always start my classes with a vocal warm up, and we are for the most of the time standing up during the lesson. For you who knows the western scale "do-re-ma-fa-so-la-ti-do", the corresponding scale in Nepali is "sa-re-ga-ma-pa-dha-nee-sa". My vocal teacher starts the class with singing on "sa" for a long time, accompanied by tampura, a large string instrument that gives the tone to the scales we are working on. You can almost say that it functions as a drone (borduntone). First I attended a beginner's class, but the teacher quickly told me to move to advanced level! That was very uplifting!
The first hour we worked with intervals. First it was pretty easy, singing more or less stepwise. And then the teacher advanced and gave us more and more difficult intervals. After a while he gave me a short melody that I had to give name to (i.e. he would sing pa-dha-re-ga, without giving the name of the notes, but asking me for them). Now, because he meant I was fit for advanced level, I stayed for the next class, and got to learn the scale of a raag; raag yaman. Raag or raga basically means a melodic mode in Indian or eastern classical music. It is a series of four or more notes that can shape a melody. There are extremely many ragas, and it takes a long time just to learn one raga. All the ragas has something we call pakad - this means the main notes of the raga. In the raga I partly learnt today, the notes pa-ma-ga-re-nee-re-sa are the main notes, or if you like: so-fa-mi-re-ti-re-do! To join this class was really an exhilerating experience. Once I got the hang of it, and also attached it to the way we work with intervals in western music, I got really hooked! So hopefully I will be able to learn so many new things to bring home by the end of my stay!
Also because I am getting more Nepalese friends here, they are happy not only to talk Nepali with me, but also to teach me popular Nepali songs. So don't be surprised if I invite you to a Nepalese concert when I come home!!
It is not always easy to express in words how it is to be here, so I want to share more with you in pictures and music. Hope you will enjoy what you see and hear, and maybe you can understand why I am enjoying my life here so much! :-D