Music has always played an important part in making the surroundings more pleasant. Whether it is singing songs during a long tour or indoor to lift the mood, there is music for every mood. Nepali songs are no different.
Music also pulls people closer together. It has, on many occasions, demonstrated that it is the most understood global language. But when a foreigner is introduced to Nepali music, they are most probably made familiar with ‘Resham Firiri’. However, Nepali music is much more than that, and there are many more easy, peppy and interesting songs to start with.
So, if you are trying to get familiar with Nepali music and also learn the language with it, here are some simple yet catchy Nepali songs you can sing.
1. Phulko Aankhaa Maa
Durga Lal Shrestha wrote this lovely, soothing song, which is performed by Ani Choying Dolma. This song’s lyrics, inspired by the philosophies of Buddhism, make it one of the most popular Nepali songs among the people here. This has reached 2.2 m views on YouTube. It is a lovely song to listen to while travelling, and the lyrics are simple and catchy.
It goes ’Phulko aankhaa maa phulai sansara, kaandako aankhaa maa kaandai sansara’ (if you are a flower, you will see the world as a flower; if you are a thorn, you will see a thorn). It simply means your perception of the world is a reflection of yourself. It repeats quite a few times so you can hum it next time you hear it.
2. Aankhaa maa timilai
This love song was penned and sung 25 years ago by Nabin K Bhattarai. This song is from his album Raharai Raharma, which made him a household name in Nepal almost overnight. His music video for this song was recently released and has had over 1 million views already. It is both romantic and catchy, and you might just find yourself falling in love with it.
The song says ‘Aankhaa maa timilai, pauchhu ma dherai dherai’ which means whenever he closes his eyes, he sees his lover, and finds her there forever. The song is an expression his feelings, of his love. The song further says he loves her so much that he sees her even in his dreams and wants to spend the rest of his life together. So it should be pretty easy to follow.
3. Kutu maa kutu
‘Kutu maa kutu’ is another superhit song released in 2017. This song appeared in the Nepali film Dui Rupaiya. It was written and sung by Rajan Raj Shiwakoti along with Melina Rai and Rajan Ishan, and was directed by Asim Shah.
This song became the first Nepali YouTube video to reach 100 million views on December 22, 2017, and still is the most viewed Nepali video on YouTube, with over 150 million views. This is one of the best and easiest Nepali songs to listen to when travelling or just to kill time or even dance to it because it is everywhere.
The main chorus for this song is ‘Kutu maa kutu supadi dana, kutu maa kutu’ and means supadi (betelnuts) being cracked and chewed. Kutukutu, the onomatopoeia, refers to the sound it makes. This may or may not make sense, to foreign listeners, and the lyrics might even feel fast-paced to follow. But, it is still worth it even if you learn just the chorus. The music video is also entertaining to watch.
4. Asaare mahinaa maa
Tulsi Gajmer wrote and composed the song ‘Asaare mahinaa maa’, inspired by Nepali migrant workers in Darjeeling, India. It was sung by Chhujang Dukpa, with Aruna Lama joining in on the chorus. It is about a male migrant worker, who is abroad for work and is remembering his family, in particular, his young son. This song was released back in 2005 and it was immediately admired by many. Its popularity was boosted by Prashant Tamang singing it on the Indian Idol (2007).
‘Asaare mahinaa maa’ refers to the third month in the Nepali calendar (June/ July) when it is monsoon season in Nepal. The song goes ‘Asaare mahinaa maa, paani paryo rujhaune, eklo yo mero man kasari bujhaune’ (it is the monsoon rain, one that can drench me, but how do I convince my lonely heart). This Nepali song has a slow tempo, is emotional, and is easy to follow.
5. Ukaali oraali
This is an older song, but it is still popular among Nepali music fans. Chandani Shah composed the song and legendary Tara Devi provided her voice. This is one of the singer’s most popular songs, and her soothing voice in this song is highly appreciated. Although ‘Ukaali Oraali’ was released before 1990, it is still one of the popular Nepali songs of today. You can even hum it; it is sure to get you in the good books of the elder generation.
To give you a peek, the singer sings, ‘Ukaali oraali harumaa…. Jaha jaha janchhau timi, ma paila bani pachhyayi rahanchu’. It means no matter wherever her loved one goes, anywhere in the world, she will always follow him like a shadow and be together although she may not be physically present.
Another popular song is ‘Parelimaa’ from the band 1974 AD and was released in 1998. From their album Samjhi Baschhu, this Nepali song became a smashing hit when it first came out because the song was acoustic, simple and genuine. It had a simple feel to it, evoking romanticism and is still a fan favourite. There are many covers of this song you can check as well.
The song goes ‘Pareli maa lukai rakha na, angaalo maa bandhi rakha’ where the singer is expressing his love by requesting his lover to hide him in her eyes and embrace him. This song is the best one to start with because it is slow, easy and speaks about the love that is a universal language too, like music.