By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Apr. 12: The National Folk Duet Festival has begun in Kathmandu since Saturday. The festival will last till April 13. The five-day festival was inaugurated by Vice President Nanda Bahadur Pun 'Pasang' at Tundikhel amid a special event.
Vice President Pun said that folk songs of different castes, geographies, religions and cultures were invaluable assets of the country. The folklore, which used to resound in the village fairs, forests and marriages, is now being internationalised through the city, he added. Folk songs have reached not only cities but also different countries of the world and, folk music is also becoming commercial, said Vice President Pun.
The festival was inaugurated after a procession that started from Maitighar reached Tundikhel with 'jhankis' reflecting cultures of different castes. On the first day of the festival, various folk songs were performed by famous singers. Many senior artists who contributed to the promotion of folk songs were also honoured.
Veteran Deuda singer Nanda Krishna Joshi, Bhojpuri singer Dhrub Singh Thakuri, Tharu singer Maniram Kariya Magaria, veteran singer Tirtha Kumari Thapa, Maithili singer Birendra Kumar Jha and founding president of the National Folk and Duet Song Foundation Ammar Birahi Gurung were honoured.
According to the organisers, there will be competition among 67 participating groups from different districts across the country. Medals and other prizes including Rs. 500,000 will be given to the first place group in the competition. Similarly, the second, third and consolation group will be awarded Rs. 300,000, Rs. 200,000 and Rs. 100,000, respectively.
Famous singers like Purushottam Neupane, Ghamesh Dulal, Hari Thapa, Sita Thapa, Rita Thapa, Kamalikant Bhetwal and Shiva Hamal are the judges of the competition. Singers Amrit Khati, Mina Maiya Thapa, Bhimsen Khatiwada, Saroj Lamichhane, Rabin Lamichhane, Kalpana Dahal and Ram Kumar Nepali are also part of the jury. The best singers will be presented a cash prize of Rs.25, 000 and new talent will get Rs. 20,000. Famous artistes of various genres will also perform in the festival every day.