Hari Kul Music SchoolPatan, 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 tablas. 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.
Today Hari literally invents some of the most unique percussion instruments, wind instruments and string instruments you have ever heard. When children ask for music lessons and if they do not have money he will not turn them away. Hari is the living embodiment of music and its potential for healing.
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. Three orphaned boys have had the good fortune of being invited to stay in his home and work in his shop for their keep. Hari passionately teaches them music notation in the morning before they leave for school each day.
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
Provides five bags of cement to help build the foundation of a music school
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.
Spirit in the Room PART 3by William Aura
Hari is exited to show us the progress on the new music rooms recently rented by the foundation. This will most certainly allow him the ability to expand his student base. With a great sense of pride he takes us upstairs to show us his new working space. Hari is profoundly grateful for this opportunity. He has previously been quite limited with what he can do in the cramped quarters that primarily serves as a drum-making studio and music shop. There are times where I can hardly find a place to stand. Expanding his space is opening his mind in a new and dramatic way. I can see the twinkle in his eye as he again expresses a deep gratitude to PFCF for this marvelous gift. We also make arrangements to order ten new instruments for his students. The melodica, also known as the ‘blow-organ’ or ‘key-flute’, is a free-reed instrument similar to a harmonica. It has a musical keyboard on top, and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole in the side of the instrument. These kids would never be able to afford one of these without our support. They will without a doubt be warmly received.
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.