Hari Kul Music ProgramPatan, Lalitpur District, Nepal
The Newar are considered to be the indigenous people of the Kathmandu valley. They are renowned for their rich musical tradition. This highly developed culture has a long history of social progress through art and music. Newar inhabitation of the Kathmandu valley is so ancient that it extends beyond recorded history into the realm of legend. People of all walks of life cherish their music.
As a child, Newari musician Hari Kul was taught to make madal drums by his famous drum-making father. Madals are a rhythm-keeping drum for folk songs in Nepal as well as northern India. They are made of wood and both heads are played, holding the madal drum horizontally. The drum averages two feet in length and six inches in diameter. The skin is similar to the skin of the tabla. Black dots made of iron filings, flour and egg are burned on the skins in the center, giving the skin weight that causes the tone to reverberate like a low pitched bell.
For years Hari has taken on numerous disadvantaged children who have no means of support, and freely teaches them music. He and his wife, son and daughter operate a humble music shop in the picturesque Lalitpur district. He personally makes and provides most of the music instruments utilized in our Nepali music programs. What strikes us most about Hari is his insatiable desire to educate the disadvantaged.
This remarkable musical family will often sit on the rooftop taking in the Himalayan skyline while discussing music, healing and life. Local musicians casually stop by for tea and delightful conversation. Music is the motivator for all. The view is indeed breathtaking. Prayer flags rustle in the wind overlooking Durbar Patan Square. Children are laughing. Families gather for supper. There is a sense the day is done and it’s time for community and family. We are fortunate to have partnered with such a generous spirit.
OTHER WAYS TO GIVE
Provides a madal drum, benefiting a child and local craftsman
Buys materials to repair and expand the school building and outdoor classroom
MEET WITH A STUDENT
Percussion teacher Hari Kul recently took in Dilbahadur, an orphan from a village west of the Kathmandu. Hari provides his education as well as music lessons. He notes this young man displayed a keen sense of rhythm immediately upon his first lesson. Eager to ask questions Dilbahadur gratefully absorbs everything his new teacher has to share.
Student performance at Hari Kul’sby William Aura
During a recent PFCF visit, over 15 music students participated in a rousing musical and dance performance delighting everyone in attendance. The kids had been rehearsing quite a while for this presentation. Original songs were written in our honor and the children gave their all. We could see definitive improvement over last year’s visit. Hari is doing a very good job. Despite experiencing a chilling Himalayan evening, this very special performance warmed our hearts.
LIFE IN THE COMMUNITY
Nearby Hari Kul’s shop, a number of musicians, family and friends gather at Patan Durbar Square to celebrate one of the most dazzling of all Hindu festivals – Tihar, the festival of lights. During the festival the devoted worship Laxmi, the Goddess of Wealth. All the houses are cleaned and decorated with the belief that Goddess Laxmi will enter the house that is the cleanest. People light candles, oil lamps and other lights and the whole place sparkles like a diamond.
The fifth and last day of Tihar is a day where sisters put a "Tika" on the forehead of brothers, to ensure long life, and thank them for the protection they give. The brothers in return give a gift. A special garland is made for the brothers out of a flower that wilts after a couple of months, symbolizing the sister's prayer for her brother's long life.