Mukti Shakya -Vocals and Guitar
Sunit Kansakar – Guitar
Roshan Kansakar – Bass
Nikhil Tuladhar – Drums
Radium:The early 1970s had seen bands like Hillocks, Melodies and Pakheys starting the rock and roll culture in Kathmandu. But it wasn’t until Prism came about in 1978, that this new sub-culture firmly established itself in the capital city. Then in 1979 came Mukti Shakya,would remain a key figure in Nepal’s music industry for years to come.
Mukti joined one of the most popular bands then “Radium” headed by senior musicians .Niranjan, Bishnu,Suchandra in1979. Mukti joined as bassist for this band.”Back then there were no music shops like there are now,” he says. So the boys pitched in money and took a trip to Calcutta, India to buy music instruments and PA equipmentsIt didn’t take long for the band to take off in the hotel circuit. Prism was a regular at Soaltee, and Radium scored the same at Sheraton Hotel [now Everest Hotel]. Bishnu then left the band and Mukti brought Sudesh for bass and he became the singer and a guitar player .”For a while, our life was like what we saw and heard about,” he says, in reference to the fame and the parties, and money, which for that time was a significant amount. But soon creative differences emerged in the band and Radium broke up. Mukti was focused on writing Nepali originals but their hotel stint required them to do Western covers.
It didn’t take long for the band to take off in the hotel circuit. Prism was a regular at Soaltee, and Radium scored the same at Sheraton Hotel [now Everest Hotel]. Bishnu then left the band and Mukti brought Sudesh for bass and he became the singer and a guitar player .”For a while, our life was like what we saw and heard about,” he says, in reference to the fame and the parties, and money, which for that time was a significant amount. But soon creative differences emerged in the band and Radium broke up. Mukti was focused on writing Nepali originals but their hotel stint required them to do Western covers.
Soon after Radium, Mukti helped start his second band, Elegance (1982) with Sudesh, Raju and Bhanu Maan. It was in Elegance that Mukti first played the role of a lead guitarist in a band.and Raju as thevocalist.Dekendra,Dev Rana and Nabin also filled in on the drums in Elegance’s latter days. Elegance felt more right for Mukti as the band shared a common vision of writing Nepali originals rather than play western covers. But the band emerged at a time when Kathmandu’s young music listeners were being swept away by the music of Western acts like the Stones and Hendrix.
Elegance was very concert oriented, so appealing to this audience with their Nepali originals wasn’t an easy task. “The only hip Nepali singers during this time were Prem Dhoj Pradhan and Arun Thapa, so we’d always invite them to sing in between our concerts, “We used to call the City Hall our second home,” Mukti laughs. City Hall was the choice of venue for all rock concerts and most of these rock shows were sold out before the show started. Elegance also did several full moon shows in Swayambhu.
Elegance lasted for almost six years during which they recorded a single and produced a homemade music video. The TV station, however, turned it down because it wasn’t of adequate broadcast quality. Basanta Udayo from Mukti and Revival’s first album Kalanki Ko Jam (2000) and Meri Meri Mayalu from their second album Bujhai Deu (2003) were written during the Elegance days
Mukti was preparing to move to Spain with his Spanish girlfriend Maria Cinta who he had met in 1982. The other band members got thinking about life and career too. “Now I hear singers are making a life out of music, buying bikes and cars after releasing an album. Things were different back then,” he says. And so Elegance disbanded with the mutual understanding of having to support them selves financially and pursue careers. Mukti went to Spain with Maria and soon became a father there.
The Spanish Connection In mid 80’s Mukti went to Spain withhis wife, where he played with different bands.Soon after moving, Mukti and Mary became parents. This also translated into in Mukti’s first hiatus from music. The blues man turned into a businessman. “My father was a businessman and I grew up in that atmosphere, so I figured I could be a businessman too,” he says laughing about his failed attempt.
Three years after shuttling between KTM-Spain as a businessman he had packed up his ventures and got back to music, doing everything from busking on streets to jamming with bands every possible opportunity. It didn’t take long for him to get an offer from the Orchestra Tramontana as a session musician in Spain and got a job as a professional musician. Spain is a country rich in festivals and carnivals and all of those require bands. Mukti got busy with this new job for three years before coming back to KTM. When he did, all the members of Elegance had already settled down in their new lives. While the streets were full of riots and protests in 1990, he stayed home trying his hand at recordings on his Tascam set and taking on some music production projects. 8 monthes later he went back to Spain and joind Tramontana once again for two years. In 1992 he returns to Nepal with his wife and their two sons Gyan and Nabin.
“There was this bassist called Udesh. He had been urging me to start a band for a while,” he recalls of those days. Mukti, Udesh, Sushil, and Nabin then formed the first Revival. It was Daniel Karthak who suggested that the band’s name should be Mukti and Revival since the band is always being revived with new members with Mukti being the only consistent front man. Daniel himself played the bass for Revival after Udesh left the band. He has since played with a host of leading musicians and artists, more recently with Nepathya, before re-joining Exit.
In 1996, the first Revival played their last show together in Basantapur. This was also when Mukti met Newaz, who was the opening act. “This band had a style like mine,” he says, referring to Newaz’s blues sound. When the vocalist of Newaz left for Australia, the remaining band members morphed into the new Revival, which has been together since. The line up is Roshan, Binod, Rabindra and now Maria. In 2002, Mukti and Revival finally released their highly anticipated debut album Kalanki Ko Jam and it became an instant hit. So was Mukti surprised? “Surprised and very happy! What we ad tried so many years ago finally worked,” he says laughing. Sushil is now back from Canada and runs Him latté Café in Thamel and performs every Friday night with his band Eternity, which also features Nabin( The Elegance)Sunit [Looza] and Roshan [Revival]. Revival member Binod is currently in Holland and just became father to a daughter. He is also planning to come back to KTM soon to record new materials.
Live at Base Camp