House of Hope may not sound like a band, but they are an all-female musical group. Comprised of four girls, this band stands out for their young age as well as for being one of the few all female groups; perhaps the only one in the country. While Kanchan Lama, the rhythm guitarist is studying in grade 9, drummer Bimala Gurung is attending the 12th standard. The singer Yerusha Tamang, bass player Rahel Magar and lead guitarist Resha Sunuwar are all somewhere in between. These children understand music and they really rock.
House of Hope is not that young as a band though. Formed three years ago, they have travelled to Darjeeling and performed at the famous Chowrasta. During their breakthrough concert at St. Xaviers back in 2013, the band members had their share of anxiety and nervousness when even their voices dried up. However, the positive feedback and love they received has kept them together, leading to more shows in various other venues.
It all started out of passion for music when they saw some seniors performing at ‘Aasha’, the orphanage where they met each other and grew up together. Gopal Mukhiya and his wife, Eli Mukhiya, the founders of the orphanage, have been the major influence and inspiration for House of Hope. For years Mukhiya has been pushing these musicians in every aspect of life possible, including the music. These girls are learning music from the teachers at the orphanage itself and Mukhiya feels a sense of satisfaction and happiness with how the band has turned out. Being the caretaker of the band and the organization Aasha itself, he wants to educate them further and encourage them as far as possible.
The band generally relies on covers of various Nepali songs for their repertoire. At the recent ‘Women in Concert’, their set-list included some of the finest tricky Nepali songs such as ‘Sa Karnali’ by Nepathya. The band also uses traditional musical instruments like madal, dhime, sarangi and flute besides. While the band needs more practice, anybody can feel what they are capable of doing in the future. They are ambitious and have started working on two of their original songs as well.
Their goal is to change the perspective of society towards women by taking up music. House of Hope, through their music wants to advocate feminism in the long run. They hope to one day inspire people, inspire females to believe in themselves and what they can do. While the room echoes with their laughter when they dream of a world tour, they talk of how much want to contribute something to the orphanage where they all grew up, from where the name of band itself has been derived.
With exams just over, they are working out a schedule for their practice sessions. The band is also full of hope and look forward to their Nepal tour in the near future. The members emphasize their desire to perform in the rural parts of the country where they wish to advocate and raise awareness regarding feminism. They also hope to play music and stick together for as long as possible.
The energy during their live set is something extraordinary given their age. These young musicians can really play music. They left me transfixed with their opening song during ‘Women in Concert’. As their name suggests, the band is definitely a ‘house of hope’ for the Nepali music scene.