Kathmandu’s art and culture is integral to understanding the city. This historic city is the home to exceptional art and traditional culture. But apart from the museums, art galleries and literature, this city has a galore to offer.
Concerts & Cultural Film Screenings
A few things that amazed me when I first came to Kathmandu were its music scene and outdoor film screenings. The time of my arrival in this country couldn’t have been better. I landed in this vibrant city right on the day, when Jazzmandu (A marathon of jazz and traditional Nepalese folk and classical music performed by international and Nepali musicians) premiered for the season. Kathmandu is known internationally for this Jazz festival, which started in 2002.
Even though the nightlife of this city ends before midnight, there is a lot to do and immerse yourself into in this dynamic city. This country offers a plethora of amazing cultural musicians and bands. Often there are concerts held in various public places in the city. Keep a lookout for free open-air screenings and concerts happening around the valley.
Most of the times these concerts take place at various historic places such as the Durbar Squares or some popular temples and most times they are free or costs very little.
Talking about historic places, there are three major Durbar Squares in the valley that hosts most concerts and film screenings. But then again, there are gorgeous temples in almost every lane of the city. Concerts and screenings at these places just add to the charm of the event.
The only problem with these events and festivals is that, they aren’t well publicized, so you really have to keep a look out, or you might just miss it. But on the bright side, the lack of publicity attracts a smaller crowd, which is always better.
I have so far been very lucky with concerts, as I somehow land up at the right place on the right time. My best concert experience was when I ran into Kutumba and NOJAZZ playing together at Kathmandu Durbar Square last year. It is the best venue to host concerts as it is spread over a larger space and the Temples with steps serve as the seating area, which provides the best view of the stage.
NOJAZZ is a brilliant French Jazz band, while Kutumba is a very popular and a fantastic Nepali folk instrumental ensemble. They are a group of six musicians, all with different musical backgrounds gathered with an aim of preserving Nepali culture and art. Their music is very different and original, unlike any other music I have heard before. I have been fortunate enough to hear them thrice so far, one of which was at the Lalitpur festival, and each time I hear them live they sound even better.
While concerts require a bigger space, film screening can be held almost anywhere, at any chowk, outside any temple. I like the freedom for art and artists in this city. Film screenings attract a much smaller crowd and many times, mostly expats. Generally they show documentaries and other cultural films in all languages and from around the world. My first screening was at Naag Bahal Temple near Patan Durbar Square on a cold November evening. It was just the perfect venue to host a film screening.
Like I mentioned earlier, I am extremely fascinated by the culture of this city. I absolutely enjoy good traditional Nepali music and watching a nice documentary film outdoors in a traditional space surrounded by old Newari buildings. It is very relaxing after a long day of work.
Do try to experience this cultural side of the city and especially watch out for Kutumba while you are in Nepal.
Text & Images: Mithila Jariwala