Urjazz is the new fusion sensation in Kathmandu. The group experiments with folk Nepali, classical Hindustani, jazz and Flamenco rhythms. Since its formation, in May 2009, the group has being doing concerts and gigs around Kathmandu and touring Indian and Finland.
Urja means energy and this is one of the characteristics of this group, ENERGY!
One of the goals of UrJazz is to spread the new sound of Nepal. All its members are part of the first institution dedicated to Jazz in the land of the Himalayas, Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory (http://www.katjazz.com.np). This institution is changing music education in the country and encouraging its students to try Jazz and Fusion with a big emphasis on Nepali music.
Besides playing, UrJazz members give clinics on Jazz, improvisation, Ragas, Nepali Folk and Flamenco music. Please, listen to our music at: www.myspace.com/urjazz
The group is made with five top Nepali musicians on their instruments and a Spanish woodwind player.
Bishwa Nepali – Hindustani and Nepali vocals/madal
Mariano E. Abello – saxophones/flutes
Roshan Sharma – chaturangi/guitar
Ishan Khadka – bass/vocals
Navaraj Gurung – tabla/percussion
Kismat Shrestha – drums
Roshan Sharma – Guitar and Chaturangi (Hindustani Slide Guitar)
Roshan is a multi-instrumentalist. He started music at the age of 11 with his elder brother Srijan Nepal. With an aim to imitate traditional indian music on guitar he started playing ragas on it. Still unsatisfied, he went to calcutta to learn the chaturangi, a unique 24 stringed guitar with the legendary Maestro and grammy nominee, Sri Pandit Debashis Bhattacharya. He studied Jazz Theory from Jessie Van Ruller. Fortunate enough to learn both eastern and western music to a great extent, he often tries to merge the best of both worlds thus creating new sounds on the guitar and the chaturangi itself. Besides being a musician he is a lecturer at Tribhuwan University and enjoys teaching academics at various colleges in kathmandu.
Roshan has recorded 5 albums till date amongst which "Aatmiya", "Music Makers of Nepal" and "Sitapati" did very well in Nepal and abroad. He has also recorded over 50 songs as a sideman.
Now Roshan is also teaching guitar and chaturangi at Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory in Kathmandu.
Roshan has performed in India, Bhutan, China and other South East Asian Countries.
Ishan Khadka - Bass
Ishan is the new bass sensation of Nepal, playing with several well known bands around Kathmandu and teaching in one of the leading music school in the city. He has no formal education because of the lack of bass teachers in Nepal. All his knowledge in music was acquired through books, the internet and foreigner musicians coming to town; this did not stop his willing to learn but reinforced the willing to be a musician.
Ishan has been playing in top music events of Nepal such as Women In Concert, Miles Music Festival, Nepal Jazz Jatra just to mention a few.
Kismat D. Shrestha - Drums
Music has always been the top priority of Kismat. Earlier it came as a hobby but then later as a profession. Kismat started playing drums at the age of six. He was brought up in a musical environment. He was used to jam with his father and brother who used to play piano and guitar respectively. Right from childhood he played in many concerts. To the audiences' amazement, it was difficult for them to even see the little drummer. He received his first good drum kit at the age of 10. He not only played drums from his childhood but many other instruments like guitar, bass, tabla, and piano. He is not just an instrumentalist but a musician at heart. Influenced by bands like Metallica and Green Day he joined his brother's band at the age of 12. Soon he was involved in many recording projects with the band. Later he got many offers from mainstream bands and joined different projects. At college he formed his own band influenced by extreme metal bands like Cryptopsy, Nile etc.
Kismat was introduced to jazz only a few years ago but he believes that he has found his heart in this genre. He plays in many jazz combos at the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory. He also plays in the only Big Band in Nepal - the KJC Big Band. He has been offered the drummer's seat by the members of the band Cadenza forming a new guitar trio band called Silver Wind and Fate which plays regularly at the famous Upstairs Jazz Bar. He was also offered the drummer's seat in the famous band Kathmandudes. He is influenced by drummers like Elvin Jones, Peter Erskine, Brian Blade, Christophe Bras, Ari Heonig. He has participated in many jam sessions and concerts like the Sundance Fest, Jazzmandu and Miles Music Festival. He has shared the stage with many renowned jazz musicians like D. Eskenazi, J. Baum, P. Tweed to name a few.
Navaraj Gurung - Tabla
Navaraj is an acclaimed Tabla player from Nepal who belongs to a strong scholastic linage of the Nepali Tabla School, founded by his father, Maestro Ram Hari Gurung. Navaraj has acquired neo-classical forms from his father who propounded this style during his appointment as a musician to the royal court of Nepal in the early 1900s. Navaraj has successfully woven his father’s tradition and his own newer expressions in the many fusions and neo-classical music he produces.
Navaraj is awarded with numerous prizes and honors. He has made musical tours in Europe, South Asia and South East Asia. He is also the initiator of the music group ‘Trikaal’, which is very famous in Nepal. Navaraj has organized and participated in many musical happenings helping the poor children.
Bishwa Nepali – Vocals
Bishwa is a young accomplished singer. He grew up in a musical family where his grandfather, Ram Sharan Nepali, gave guidance about music to him, as well as his father, Viba Sharan Nepali who is also a well-known tabla player.
Soon he started taking voice lessons from the best singers of Nepal such as Kunti Moktan and Sangita Pradhan and under the tutelage of the singer and composer Anand Rai, he learnt to play madal and hone his singing further.
While studying at Pushpa Sadan Boarding School of Kirtipur, he took part in a number of singing competitions where he always earned the first place. In 1996 he won the "All Nepal Singing Competition". He also won for five times "Timro Sur Mero Geet" a singing competition aired on Nepal Television.
Bishwa has also lent his voice to a dozen of Nepali films. Bishwa also stood first in the RAWA ICON 2009 that took place in Kathmandu in July 2009 in collaboration with INDIA. Recently he visited INDIA for the same program as guest artist for pre-international meet and did the cultural show for an audience of 60,000.
Mariano E. Abello – Saxophones and Flutes
Mariano started playing at a young age in his native Spain. As a teenager he performed with various groups in different styles including blues, flamenco, jazz, and bossa-nova. In 1996 he moved to the USA in search of a better musical education, especially in the jazz area. In Florida he studied with Gary Campbell, Carlos Averhoff, Mike Gerber, Dr. Tim Walters, Dr. Michael Dillido, J.B Dyas, and Mike Brignola. Mariano received in 2005 a Master of Arts in woodwind performance and pedagogy from Florida Atlantic University.
Mariano has appeared on television in Spain and the US, including the Tele5 Summer Shows in Ibiza, Spain. He also performed in different jazz festivals such as the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands. In addition he performed on bass clarinet and saxophones with the Merida-Miami Symphonic Orchestra in Mexico. He is a freelance player who specializes in jazz, latin music, flamenco, blues and Broadway shows playing saxophones, flute, clarinet and oboe.
From 2002 to 2005 Mariano taught theory, jazz combos, and saxophone ensemble at FAU. He created the FAU Latin Jazz Ensemble Dame Más, and organized and directed the 2004 and 2005 FAU Jazz Festival featuring Gonzalo Rubalcaba Trio, Bobby Shew and Mike Stern.
In 2005 he moved to Kathmandu where he started playing and touring with many Nepali bands as well as teaching privately. In 2007 Mariano opened the first music school dedicated to Jazz music in South Asia, the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory. In 2008 he founded the Miles Music Festival, an event to highlight the talented of Nepali bands and musicians. In 2010 he founded the first music educator’s society of the country, Nepal Music Educator’s Society with the aim of embracing all music educators in the country to search information and help Nepal music education to become at the level of the rest of the world.