About 10-hours from Kathmandu and located in the Udayapur district of south-eastern Nepal, Katari is the nearest municipality to Tintale village. It’s a humble little town nestled next to the majestic Tawa river and surrounded by a number of villages including Tintale. Simple farmers bring their crops to market in Katari and much is shipped onward to Kathmandu. It’s quite a walk often in a harsh environment. It was here in Katari we decided to expand the PFCF Tintale Music Program to include a second program location to serve eager students.
Katari’s vibrant PFCF music program has been dutifully administered by highly respected educator Dhruba Kumar Ghimire for 10 years now. The students are thoroughly motivated to learn. They know the opportunity is rare and they choose to take full advantage of it. Most would never be able to afford a music lesson or instrument. In a recent music performance contest with over 20 schools competing, our music program came in at number two! There’s no question Dhruba and his dedicated team continue to make a big impact within the community.
The music program now has four teachers sharing the workload of over 35 students. New teacher Sailendra Khatiwoda Is considered one of the most advanced and highly respected teachers in traditional music in the district. Truly dedicated to benefiting the kids, he travels 80 kilometers each way to teach. Sailendra has published 4 albums and his songs are still a hit on Nepal radio. He has personally trained 48 highly qualified music teachers. Sailendra’s expertise is performance and traditional training of harmonium, guitar, tabla, and voice.
Left to right: Tika Magar(flute, harmonium, and drum), Sailendra Khatiwoda(harmonium, tabla, drum and vocal), Shivanarayan Chaudhari(drum), Dhruba Kumar Ghimire(harmonium and madal), Suraj BK(guitar and vocal).
Flute, harmonium, and drum teacher Tika Magar, percussionist Shivanarayan Chaudhari and guitar, harmonium and vocal teacher Suraj BK round out the teaching staff. I could not be more proud of their tenacity, under sometimes difficult conditions, to create a peaceful music environment for the students to find their expression.
The class meets in a nondescript basement a short walk from downtown. The kids gather excitedly as early as 7 AM for their lessons. Upon our arrival, they are already in a position to belt out a number of heartfelt traditional songs. The power of the voice says it all. The students are eager to share what they have learned. No matter how tired we may be from our dusty travels, their sheer spirit never fails to make everything feel alright.