Ashesh & Nekhvam

Album Review

Free Spirit II By Ashesh And Nekhvam
February 2010 Text by : Eliz Manandhar



Following the success of its album ‘Free Spirit’, Nekhvam, the only true and dedicated blues-rock band that has been rocking the country for more than a decade now, has come up with ‘Free Spirit II’.
Ashesh and Nekhvam is one of the most celebrated bands in Nepal and is especially known for its live performances in which Ashesh Dangol, lead guitarist and singer in the band, wows audiences with his Hendrix-inspired-yet-fresh sounds. ‘Free Spirit II’ has elements of Hendrix as is expected, but there is also a Nepali pop tenor to it.

The album features tracks in both the Nepali and English languages. The first track of the album, ‘Tiputipulagchha’, is a love song. Ashesh sings about how he wants to pluck a rose but is afraid of its thorns. But when he eyes his lover’s photograph, he is ready to pluck the rose despite all the difficulties and fears he might have to face.
‘Timilai ma ke Bhanu’ is another love song in which Ashesh is entranced by his lover, and whilst the clouds burst a torrential outpour and the sun sets grimly, he remains fixated.
In ‘Bahula’ (Mad), the short catchy lyrics accompany the tight musical section perfectly as the protagonist sings of madness.
‘Sunnusnasunaunusna’ is a plea from the protagonist to a friend to listen to him, understand him, to laugh and to walk with him while something strange is happening within himself.
The next four tracks are in English; the first being the bluesy, rock ‘n’ roll number ‘Boogie Shoes’, which has simple rock ‘n’ roll lyrics in which Ashesh just wants to ‘jump, twist and shout’. Yes, very Beatlesque.
‘Come and Hold Me Tight’ is another rock ‘n’ roll number where Ashesh sings of ‘Rolling, like a football. Thirsty, hitted by your beauty’. The final two tracks are equally interesting. With Ashesh Dangol on the guitar and vocals, Sibesh Dangol on bass and Binay Shrestha on drums,
‘Free Spirit II’ is another well made album and a huge leap for Nekhvam, which is a Newari term for ‘Music Lover’. And yes, they are indeed lovers of music as is proven by the superb compositions in this album

ALBUM REVIEW
- Samik
Nekhvam Album Review - "Free Spirit"

A blues band in Nepal struggles for more then 10 years and finally comes out with a terrific blues rock album. Nekhvam, the surviving blues band in Nepal released their debut album "Free Spirit", a tribute to the departed Purnima Yadav who is an artist and also the wife to the band leader Ashesh Dangol. This is an album so finely produced with the entire home recording sessions. The use of the most simplistic setup on the recording sessions can be an inspiration to many aspiring musicians. The album consists of eight tracks which includes two instrumentals, two English and four Nepali songs.

The cover of this album is decorated with an elegant art by Purnima Yadav. "In search towards freedom", the name of the cover art and the first track in the album is a fusion of eastern classical sound with the blues. This song truly reflects the style of the guitar player of this band. The flowing bass lines and excellent choice of notes make the track even more interesting. And the drum rolls in between adds condiments to the track. It's an electric sound with an avant-garde musical endeavor. "Eklo Jeevan" the next track from the album is a song with great chord progressions and a melodic solo in between the song. The R & B flavor reflects in the song as well. The song "Yaad" is all about memories and the pain of departure. Its riffs and solos make it a hard rock song with blues solos. "Bishwas" is a slow blues song with great lyrics directly reflecting the meaning of life, happiness and sorrows. The next song "I am I am" is a fun song. It's a teasing song and its groovy. This song also has a catchy bass lines and drums.

"Darkness under the moonlight", the other English track from the album has funky sounds to it. It also has excellent use of "Wah Wah" pedals. The bass lines of this song are excellent piece for a funk sound.

"Manko Byatha" and its guitar feels remind me about the best vibes from the past. It gives memories from masters like John lee hooker and Buddy Guy.

The album ends up with a short piece of acoustic instrumental done in the open G tuning. It's called "Free Spirit" and its almost two minutes of bliss.

Over all an album truly made for blues lovers. All I can say is "Its all bout the Feel, the soul, the Mojo and the Boogie."

Peace.

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