The heart of the Panche Baja Troupe—the dancing, singing, energetic Maane Nepali seemed to be in a very jolly mood on the wedding , where he had been hired to consecrate the ceremony where he was dancing around and enjoying every beat
Photo: Nirnit Tandukar
Over the course of the wedding, I found myself talking to Maane Nepali whenever the musicians took a break. He’s a rather laconic man (starkly different from his performing persona) who doesn’t like to talk about himself. But from our conversations, I came to learn that he’d been playing the damaha since he was 15. He is 65 now, and he’s performed at countless weddings, nwarans and death rituals. I asked him if he danced and played at other weddings with as much passion and gusto as he was doing during my friend’s wedding. He said yes, for it was his life’s mission to transfer his positive energy to others through his music.
When I’d decided to join my friend’s janti, I was hoping to become part of a wedding that felt very special. My friend’s wedding was made special because the tone for the ceremony was set by the Panche Baja troupe. And the heart of the troupe was the dancing, singing, energetic Maane Nepali. I felt blessed to observe him up close working his magic. And I’m sure there have been hundreds of other people who are grateful that their most important ceremonies—nwaraans, death ceremonies, and weddings—were blessed with his performance and presence.