Here is an exclusive interview of very popular, creative and energetic young music composer, arranger and singer Mr. Jeevit ‘ Jalmi ‘ Maharjan taken for Tokhalive.com by its guest editor Mr. Om shanker Shrestha. Recently Mr. Maharjan has been honored by honorable President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari for his significant and endless services to the nation through arts and music.
Question 1- Jeevitji please give your brief introduction –
• My name is Jeevit “Jalmi” Maharjan. I was born in Kathmandu as a son of Mr.Jeevan Maharjan and a grandson of Mr.Bishnu “Jalmi” Maharjan. I Went to St.Xaviers School Godavari from classes 1 to 6 and St.Xaviers School Jawalakhel from classes 7 to 10. I studied Management at Shanker Dev campus, Putalisadak , Kathmandu and then I completed my graduation from Public youth campus. Music was my passion so I happened to join classes at Do Re Me Music school run by well known music artist Mr. Nhyoo Bajracharya and took lessons from Laxman Paudyal (Dj LX) for two years. After my training, I started my career in music arranging which I took up as my only hobby at that time.
Question 2- Let me know the approximate number of songs that you have composed and arranged so far.
• I have been arranging music for the past 25 years and I have done about 2400 songs till date of which 80 songs belong to MAHA JODI only.
Question 3- I would like to extend my warm congratulations to you for being honored by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on a special ceremony. Tell me something about it.
• It was just like a dream come true for me…I never expected that I would be entitled to such a prestigious Award “Nati Kaji Sangeet Samyojak Tatha Badhya Badan Puraskaar “.The Biggest recognition that you can get as a Music Arranger in Nepal. It was presented by the President of Nepal Mrs.Bidhya Devi Bhandari. It was organized by Nati Kaji Smitri Samaj and was held in Sheetal Niwas.
Question 4- Your well wishers and fans claim that you are the most deserving candidate for that honor though it has been certainly too late to be recognized at the national level, how would you react on their claim ?
• I am sure that the committee members must have seen something in me and in my work ability that led to the decision to nominate me as the candidate for the Award this year. As far as I know, the respected committee members were
Mr.Sambhu Jeet Baskota
Mr.Prem Dhoj Pradhan
Mr.Santosh Sharma (Music Nepal)
Mr. Bishwambar Pyakurel
Mr Dhruba kumar Shrestha
I am sure there may be many others more deserving than me but I humbly thank my well wishers and fans for considering me so.
Question 5- How would you create your mood for composing or arranging the songs? Do you need any especial time or environment to enable yourself for creations?
• I usually don’t have a specific time to arrange songs. It could be mornings; it could be during day time even in the evening or could go up to midnight. An idea has to strike me in my mind while doodling around random notes on my Keyboard. I am completely unaware of how the song is going to turn out later and just keep on feeding my feelings with musical notes. I edit hundreds of times and what comes out later is a Masterpiece. I work alone …it’s just me and my computer…. we communicate. Then I give a presentation to the composers, lyricists and singers the following day. If the presentation goes well then I transfer the whole project to the recording studio where the remaining job is done by the recordists.
Question 6- Who first inspired you to come to this field ?
• I was first inspired by my grandfather Bishnu Jalmi who is a well known songwriter in Nepal Bhasha. He has brought out over 12 Albums and has sung about 100 hit songs in his heydays.
During the recording sessions, rehearsals would take place in our house where reputed singers like Taradevi, Juju Kaji Ranjit, Rachana GC, Gyanu Rana, Meera Rana, Dwarika Lal Joshi, Nagina Joshi, Rajeshori Shrestha, Prem Dhoj Pradhan, Satya Narayan Raj Bhandari, Tirtha Kumari, Sapana Shree, Prem Rana Awatari, Bhupendra Rayamajhi, Niranjan Maharjan, Manaraja Nakarmi, Jaya Nanda Lama and many more used to gather. I have got the privilege to assist and play with all the artists mentioned above. This must have been my first school of music I guess.
Question 7- What types of songs give you more satisfaction and amusement while arranging and composing? Would you mention some names of the best or the most favorite lyricists?
• Being a Music Arranger is a big challenge… it’s a never-ending story.. Every day you face a new challenge and what you did yesterday must be forgotten….you can’t repeat what you did in your previous project or else it will be a copy. Some of my favorite Songwriters are My Grandfather Bishnu Jalmi and other songwriters are Arun Tiwari, Om Shanker Shrestha, Prakash Deep Shrestha, Surendra Tuladhar, Nabin Chitrakar, Pratishara Sayami, Krishna Hari Baral…
Question 8- What a distinct difference do you ever notice between a singer and a musician ?
• If you are a singer and can sing well it just takes overnight to be famous if you are lucky enough. But for the musicians, it takes years of practice and hard toiling to reach a certain standard and yet he may land up behind the screen and underpaid.
Question 9- Do you sometimes get frustrated for being a musician or feel tired for covering a long journey because basically musicians are kept in low profile in comparison to the singers and the models?
• Singers and Models are in the top list of getting famous faster rather than the musicians. Name and fame also depend upon your luck. You have to keep on working hard and focus on your work in the first place. We as a musicians are always behind the screen and sometimes its frustrating too. But the recent Award made me think twice …No! If you keep on doing your job the right way you will definitely be called upon some time.
Question 10- Would you mention some commercial problems that are being faced by almost all the stake holders?
• The big question in our music industry is ‘Who is funding the entire project?’ Is it always the Lyricist, Composer, or the Singer himself who manages the cost? Recording a song is very costly nowadays and chances of selling CD’s or tapes are almost Zero, whereas returns from youtube videos are difficult too.
Question 11- Are you engaged in any other professions too?
• My family runs a small Sweets shop called ‘ Aarti Sweets House’ located in Makhan Galli. Luckily it has been very popular amidst food lovers. My grandfather established the business .We have a Joint family of 12 members.
Question 12- Will a musician have a different feature ?
• I must say, I am the guy in the music business who doesn’t look like a musician but is serious about music. Music has always been my passion and nothing comes across it.
Question 13- All right. Now tell me about your experiences with reputed artists MaHa Jodi ?
• MaHa Jodi has always been my favorite artists. I have been working for them in Major projects for the last 16 to 17 years. We have done about 80 projects together. Some of the hit are Gaijatra Maha Dhori part 1, Maha Dohori part 2, Shanti, Aama, Sarangi Retaula, Maha Bhajan, Hari maya ,Khosiye ko Adhikaar, Budho Huna man chaina and many more .
I have also done solo Albums for Kiran Kc dai,Yaman Shrestha, Mohit Bamsha Acharya and Hari Bamsha Uncle himself. Madan Krishna uncle is another brilliant writer and composer. He is the one who sits with me most of the time creating music for Plays and Drama. I still remember the time creating a play of 35 melodies in a single Drama and worked about 20 days in it …we had breakfast together, lunch together …tea time together and sometimes 11 o’ clock in the evening. I got tired most of the time but Madan uncle never seemed getting tired. He is a very calm guy with unbelievable patience.
Question 14- How is a financial return the singers and the musicians are getting in your opinion?
• Economic conditions of A grade Singers and Musicians has escalated very high, they are well paid but for those who are struggling are still facing tough challenges .The only hope of survival in music is in youtube and facebook whereas Singers do have stage shows and live Gigs but rest is just Entertainment for free I guess.
Question 15- Have you been performing music on the stage too?
• I am a music arranger and I work alone…me and my computer. I don’t do stage shows. I am a creative worker my job is to create not perform.
Question 16- What else do you do more? Do you spend the whole day in music arrange?
• I have already mentioned earlier I have a family business a sweets shop and I spend about 4 to 5 hours a day in it .You can’t arrange music whole day you get tired you need to relax and think freely …
Question 17- How have you become a singer too?
• Since I have been arranging songs for a very long time, I have had great opportunities to work with finest artists and composers of Nepal and have been sharing ideas and techniques with them .Therefore some of the songs that I have sung are a positive result of those meetings .Like! I met you Om sir and we did a few songs together, didn’t we?
Question 18- Will you continue singing as a career?
• Singing is just an adventure for me .There are lots of good singers out there and I have no intention of poking my nose in their business. I will of course sing, but I have never thought of making it a career. Anyway you guys will definitely get to listen to me in near future.
Question19- Let me know some of your best works which you supposed to be the turning point and the milestone of your career indeed.
• The turning point and the milestone of my career was the hit song “Janmida ni Eklai Marda ni eklai” by Karna Das who is a good friend of mine.The song was written by Arun Tiwari and I, Jeevit Jalmi composed and arranged the song .It was a smash hit of 2059 BS. It took away the title of the best song of the year , the best lyrics of the year and tha best vocal performance of the year in Image Award and Hits Fm Award.I am proud to say that I got well recognition after that.
Question20- On an average how many songs do you prepare a month?
• I do about 7 to 8 songs a month. However I can do more but I think it will ruin my perfection quality and freedom of thinking new ideas.
Question 21- What do you actually think about the music ?
• When you are in music …it’s like doing meditation…nothing comes in my mind .It is like solving a difficult math problem but when you finish it, It makes you feel so relaxed and satisfied.
Question 22- Do you expect something done on behalf of the government to enhance musical field?
• I have never expected anything from the government. However my friends say after receiving the Award whatever sacrifices that I have made have been paid off. But what I cannot stop thinking is that the artists are suffering a lot and obviously government must have at least some kind of solid plans for assuring their future.
Question 23 – Finally do you have something special to say?
• Throughout my life one single sentence has never gone off my head and it still remains somewhere within my mind so alive and that is “THERE ARE LOTS OF TALENTED PEOPLE IN THE STREETS AND IS THAT WHAT YOU EVENTUALLY WANT TO BECOME?” This is what I have heard our elders say …….