Ambassador’s speech at the launch of Kutumba’s new album
March 11, 2017:
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
It is for me an honour and a pleasure to introduce tonight the new album “Himalayan Highland” of the famous band Kutumba.
Since their formation in 2004, Kutumba has been very popular in Nepal, with an encounter between traditional musical instruments from Nepal and a wide array of other musical traditions and improvisation. They are seven musicians all coming from diverse social backgrounds.
Alliance Française of Kathmandu and French Embassy have supported them since their beginning. They were invited to play once at the reception our national day by the French Embassy. They often played in the garden of the Alliance Française. They have actively participated in various artistic projects set up by the AF such as a pluridisciplinary artistic project “Divinity of common life” in 2007, in the first edition of Planet Nepal, festival of Arts and environment in 2010, held here in Patan Durbar square.
Thereafter, the Kutumba group was invited to play in Paris by CulturesFrance, the previous avatar of now Institut français. It was their first performance in Europe.
That was successful since in 2012, the Alliance Française of Kathmandu invited them again to perform in Paris. That year, the AF of Kathmandu was chosen among hundreds of Alliance française worldwide by the AF foundation as the AF of the year. On that occasion, they were able to play not only in Paris but also in several cities in Brittany and they were also invited to perform in the festival Nautic and Music in Bonifacio, which for a band from a landlocked country like Nepal is quite an achievement.
Too bad that they couldn’t bring back a piece of the sea in their luggage...
Not limited to France, their successul tour lead them to other European countries : UK, Belgium and Germany.
You may wonder why France has provided support and why I am here tonight to introduce a Nepali, not a French band ?
Because my country thinks it is great not by confining to its own culture but by welcoming cultural diversity. That is the reason why the French Government is supporting the Alliance Française network, in order to promote not only French language and French culture but also local arts, artists and cultures. One good example of that global action is Fête de la musique (International Music day) on the 21st of June, initiated by France and started in 1982. Now thanks to Alliance Française and Institut français networks, this day is celebrated by musicians of all over the world every year.
The band KUTUMBA has already produced 6 albums of music and this new album "Himalayan Highland" is a meeting between Celtic and Nepalese music. It is the fruit of their stay in French Brittany where Celtic music is deeply rooted, and of a residency with a band in Edinburgh in Scotland. As you know, Scotland is not only the birthplace of whisky but also one of the pillars of Celtic culture. And I hope the Celtic connection will continue to link our countries and cultures !
Thanks to the success of Kutumba group, a new generation of musicians are playing more and more local musical instruments and new groups start to appear and have success on stage.
Not limited to one region, Kutumba has played with artists from many other regions including from Mithila region in the South, which reflects their album ’Mithila’.
I praise their strong will to contribute to the sense of unity in Nepal by linking people from the Taraï to other regions of Nepal through music and I wish great success to their new album.