Review: Namlo @ Balabam (London; Friday 16th March 2018)

Namlo @ Balabam

Bringing smooth and devout instrumental interplay, candid voices, and an alluring mélange of folk melodies, Namlo unfurls nuances of the musical multitude of ethnic Nepalese folklore. Their music delves into mountainous landscapes and villagers’ concern of overflowing rivers, as well as the journeys of meeting places (‘Rodhi Ghara’) where people belong, go away from and return to.

With a cold breeze in the air around South Tottenham and the warm-hearted lively atmosphere inside Balabam, word of mouth brings more and more people to this venue, locals and loyals, as well as newcomers of all ages. People get comfy, meanwhile Namlo commence and get space.

Each song unveils a story of an emotional journey. Soulful singers Ganga Thapa and Shreya Rai introduce their pieces in turn, and each artist softly grows into the piece. Throughout the whole event, Gizem Altinordu and Sawbean Dongol’s percussion propels velvety thrusts, along with noble lines of Robyn Hemmings’ double bass. Bishwo Shai’s acoustic guitar accompanies each piece with amity, and, at times, certain musical influences spring out, like Ganga’s kora-like fingering on guitar, or Lucy Tasker affable haunting clarinet inserts.

We were listening to Nepalese customs of everyday life performed with a careful and conversant understanding of what music can portray and trigger. Namlo played nuances of their usual repertoire, although a few untitled pieces were picked out from the forthcoming album. Coming soon to our ears, the long-awaited album promises to inaugurate more journeys. Now, that seems pretty enticing.

Photo ©: Acis Mahrje

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