• Sat, Sep 23, 2023

Bipul Chettri Finds Endless Beauty In Solitude


album Reviews Jun 03, 05:02pm

His lockdown EP ‘Samaya’ is without doubt one of best collections of indie songs this year

Nepali singer-songwriter Bipul Chettri has always had a flair for intimacy in his music; he’s toured and recorded with his excellent band for a while now but his music has always sounded like he’s singing directly to you. Cue the pandemic and the world shutting down, and Bipul didn’t have his band to visit for ideas and refinement. As a result, his new EP ‘Samaya’ features five songs where it’s pretty much mainly just him and an acoustic guitar. Isolation is a terrible thing and ruins people more often than not; nothing has proved this more than what we’ve been plunged into for almost eighteen months (hope you all are still all right). However, there are times where someone pulls out a singular, sad but quietly hopeful beauty from such a situation. ‘Samaya’ does that and how.

These songs are – there’s no other word for it – stunning. The indie movement did create a fanbase for sad acoustic music, but the music here is so much more. It’s current, it hits you right in the feels, and above all, it makes so much sense in these times. Opener ‘Katai Uslai’ is a wistful recollection of how you can’t fix love once it is past, and his admission of the futility of it all is clear to see. As if to drive that point home, a harmonica solo enters the mix and it’s difficult to imagine anything else fitting as well. ‘Samsara’ is an old song; it came out in 2014 with English lyrics, but this version (in Nepali, of course) has an earnestness only such a language can provide. With a slide guitar complementing the acoustic, Bipul puts a much more reflective spin on the themes of life and death the original dealt with. The title track is a truly heartbreaking but hopeful meditation on the futility of our attempts to control Time while it carries on without us even in the picture. His realisation that the only thing we can do is to take what we have and do the best we can with it come across achingly well.



There is no idea of a certain high point on this EP; every track delights and hurts with a clear and direct beauty. ‘Naya Din’, however, is perhaps the only real ray of light musically. His guitar skips along instead of walking with head down, so to speak; even his vocals have a certain cheer as he talks about how it can only better from there. That’s as important a message as any, but he draws back into his isolated on the final track ‘Bhaans Ghari’ (that means Bamboo Grove). With a flute and guitar for company, Bipul medidates on how he has perhaps spent too much in his head and in a place he is forced to stay at, and when he can possibly leave. This song, like the others, bursts with melancholy energy. This is some top-tier stuff.

‘Samaya’ doesn’t have much in the way of instrumentation or elaborate production. It doesn’t need it. Bipul’s voice and songwriting does all the work and everything around it just accentuates that. This is an EP that is a statement of the time we’re all in and the thoughts of a man stuck in it. We should be thankful that these feelings can be put into song, because some of us don’t know how to do that. Bipul Chettri does, though. And we can revel in listening to it. Find a quiet evening and be blown away.


Listen here.

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