3 Places in Kathmandu : percussion quartet
by Michael Askill (2009)
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Three musical reflections inspired by a visit to Kathmandu, Nepal.
1. Swayambhu - Dawn Bhajan. Swayambhu is one of the main Buddhist pilgrimage sites situated on top of a hill in the Kathmandu Valley. At Ddawn we began to ascend the 365 steps to reach the main temple complex. A small group of musicians (singers, harmonium, tablas & bells) welcomed us with a devotional song (bhajan).
2. Pashupati - The Burning Ghats. Pashupatinath Temple is a sacred Hindu temple complex located on the banks of the Bagmati River in the eastern part of the Kathmandu valley. When I visited Pashupati the river was almost dry. Crossing to the other side of the river on a hot afternoon, we watched children play in muddy pools while cows and monkeys wandered past. Families arrived to watch one, the two cremations creating a lazy backdrop of smoke and smouldering flames.
3. Durbar Square. Kathmandu's Durbar Square is the site of spectacular palaces, courtyards and temples. The major earthquakes of 2015 damaged many important historical buildings. My memory of Durbar Square is filled with the sounds of bells, motorbikes and conversations. Street bands featuring brass and drums appeared and then disappeared until only the bells seemed to remain.
Instrumentation: Vibraphone, 3 marimbas, bongos, congas (or high toms), bass brum with pedal.
Duration: 20 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Movement 3. contains difficult mallet parts
Contents note: I. Swayambhu- Dawn Bhajan -- II. Pashupati- The Burning Ghats -- III. Durbar Square.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Tom O'Kelly
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