By Mannu Shahi,Kathmandu based singer-songwriter, composer and music producer Brihat Pahari is a protean artist ever ready to deviate from the status quo and nurture a creative realm of his own. The musician was affiliated with a handful of acts until he launched his solo career, and has a style that is a unique blend of folk, rock and electronic music.
Quite a few of his earlier works were with an indie rock quartet ‘Plebeian,’ which had garnered a decent following with their regular performances around Kathmandu. Formed in 2014, the group consisted of Brihat on vocals and guitars, Nishan Siddhi on guitars, Babin Wagle on bass and Salil Thakuri on drums. Their singles ‘Anautho Mann’ and ‘Foreign Policy’ performed well on streaming platforms like SoundCloud. Despite coming out in 2016, the tunes sound just as relevant and interesting today as the day they were released.
Not long after though, the group disbanded. But Brihat continued to follow his passion, striving to better his sonic palette. During this period, he could be seen collaborating with various like-minded musicians and occasionally publishing covers.
The singer also established his own recording studio: Paint Box Studios Nepal, through which he helps aspiring creators turn their ideas into groovy melodies. A few of those melodies also featured his former bandmate Babin on co-arrangement duties.
And in 2019, the singer launched his debut single ‘Samjhana’ on SoundCloud. The song received great praise and appreciation from tonnes of modern Nepali music enthusiasts scrutinising the digital archives for unconventional projects. This experimental track, starting off with an odd meter and swaying to a waltz in the chorus, is a signature Brihat composition, intricately fabricated with his innate artistic poise. Furthermore, the single features Diwas Gurung on audio production.
A year later, on May 26, 2020 to be exact, the songster published ‘Samjhana’ on his official YouTube channel, followed by another single ‘Badi’ a day later.
The mellow, acoustic soft-pop tune feels like an inverse to his previous oeuvre. Yet even in such a minimal setting, the musician is able to evince his personality. ‘Badi’ features renowned flutist Ashish Maharjan and the adjoining lyrics video was assembled
by Himshail Rai. Both these songs were part of the singer’s debut EP ‘Yek Chin Ma’ that came out in May 2021, alongside the premiere of the third track from the collection ‘Ago’.
One of my personal favourites from his discography ‘Ago’ is written, recorded, produced and mixed by Brihat and features Yugal Gurung on drums. The impressive animation that complements the tune perfectly is a presentation of Sixwasninedesign: Kemesh Maharjan and Shrijit Rajbhandari.
The fourth track from the EP ‘Karkala Ko Pani,’ released in 2022, is an experimental folk-fusion that puts the listeners in a reverie; all the while presenting a moral life lesson in the lyrics. The song features a full-band – the only track to do so in the EP – comprising Ashish Maharjan on bamboo flute, Babin Wagle on bass/co-composition and Yugal Gurung on drums.
And recently, on December 2, 2023, the singer published his new folk-funk single ‘Bihibaar,’ proclaiming the song as the final track from the EP.
Composed and produced by Brihat, the lyrics were co-written by Shaurav Bhattarai (Kush Band), and features Chhitij KC on drums. From the very start, the song strikes a different nerve with its dissonant intro riff embellishing over the synth drone. The drums arrive with a backbeat, creating a build-up for the stellar verse riff to take over and establish the right setting for the composition to blossom.
The song peaks at the chorus with rhythmic guitar works and funky drums patterns. The post-chorus portion features elevating ambient piano textures and a dynamic swell-up led by the string section after the second chorus. The bridge showcases a rhythmic descent giving room for an escapist atmosphere much revered by indie folk fanatics. And the song concludes on a dynamic uplift coming full-circle at the initial phrasings.
Overall, commendable work on composition, lyrics and production; a must recommend listen for everyone.