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The Nepalese Rag

by Tom Bopp

Composer's Notes

     As soon as I'd heard that my brother-in-law would be traveling to Nepal, last year, I asked him to bring back a recording of Nepalese folk-music with which I might fulfill the promise of a wretched pun I'd invented long ago, in a state of mind far removed.  Well, he did, and I did. 

     The titles of the folk songs used are: 1)Resham Firiri, 2)Trishulima Buenko Chakati, 3)Dharti Merini Lai Lai, 4)Asali Bana Ho.  No, I haven't a clue what they mean.*  I have kept the tunes fairly intact, so you may get vegetables flung at you if there are any Nepalese around when you play it.  For that matter, just announcing the title of the rag may net you a stray egg or two.  Sorry.  Email me if you want to buy the sheet music--$10 post paid.

     *Since posting this rag on the late John Roache’s excellent Ragtime midi page, the following enlightening correspondence ensued: 

Hi Tom - 
I have a friend in New Orleans who has a Nepalese neighbor who has just moved to the USA.  He played your Nepalese Rag sequence for him and here is what he had to say. 

John Roache 
Forwarded Message: 
Subj: The Dope on Nepalese Rag 
Date: 97-04-09 01:57:24 EDT 
From: Stephen H Steinberg 
To: John Roache

Please pass this on to Tom Bopp: 

The following courtesy of Rajesh Karki of Katmandu, age 27, currently way down yonder in New Orleans and dealing with everything with remarkable grace and aplomb (a Mississippi Steamboat is the first boat he has ever been on). 

The only one of the four songs he is actually familiar with is Resham Firiri ---The Wind is Blowing---which he says is a very old and very very popular folk song.  The other three he never heard before but he loves the rag and thinks the transition of the Nepalese music to ragtime is just vegetables were thrown.  The names of the other songs are "In the Trishulima River on a Buenka seat" which I take to be some kind of float you play around with in the water, Dharti Merini Lai Lai is "My Earth Hey! Hey!" or something similar, Lai Lai being roughly equivalent to Hey Hey, Hah Hah or Bippity Boppity Boo, and Asali Bana Ho means "A real jungle, yes."  Personally my view is that if you can't march to it, it isn't music, but what do I know. 

Best wishes, 
Steve Steinberg