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Jerusha Rai

We love discovering fresh music and often the best discoveries are ones you stumble upon by accident. Well we are super pleased to have discovered the music of Jerusha Rai. Her music is soothing, melodic and almost takes you on a journey to a destination only known to Jerusha.
We are thrilled to have an opportunity to interview about her second album titled ‘Sunsaan’. Hope you enjoy the interview 🙂


Musicmandir – Hi Jerusha, please introduce yourself to our readers.
Jerusha Rai – I’m Jerusha Rai, songwriter, music producer and visual designer. Originally from Nepal, I went to university in London where I started playing shows and collaborating with the up and coming artists of the Nepali diaspora. Currently, I live and work in Austin, Texas where I have recently started a new band.
I have two albums out published independently — I wrote and produced my debut, A Dark Place to Think, in 2016. It is folk-electro album that is inspired by Nepali indigenous instruments and rituals, and deals with spiritual themes. It was borne out of the feeling of displacement and a longing for connection with my roots and ancestors.
 
Musicmandir – Can you tell us about your album ‘Sunsaan’? I must say it is absolutely beautiful.
Jerusha Rai – My second album Sunsaan tells the story of someone trying to make sense of the world around them. The first three tracks deals with socio-political issues facing my country today. ‘Barud’ is about the Jana Andolan and its impact on our psyche as a nation. ‘Aba’ was written and sent to me by Bikkil Sthapit, a photojournalist who has interviewed many families of the people who were ‘disappeared’ during the civil war.
Its written from the perspective of those families and their yearning to be reunited with their loved ones. ‘Sunsaan I’ is for fellow beings living with mental illness and addiction. Other songs present the conflicted philosophies of a seeker in this generation. So “Sunsaan” (Quiet in Nepali) represents the stark absence of answers.
 
Musicmandir – What language are you singing in?
Jerusha Rai – I am singing in Nepali, the official language, but my native dialect is Bantawa (Kirati).


Watch the absolutely mesmerising music video for the track called ‘बारुद’ 

 

 
Musicmandir – There’s a lot of traditional instruments and influences in your music, could you tell us if you are playing them yourself or you have additional musicians playing with you.
 Jerusha Rai – Yes, I played the Tungna (a lute-like instrument originally played by people in the mountain regions, especially the Tamangs) in “Aba”. In “Sunsaan I” I play the African Mbira. Besides Nepali folk music, I am greatly influenced by Cameroonian music and artists like Francis Bebey, Richard Bona. I also like music from Mali, bands like Tinariwen, which bears interesting similarities with Nepali folk.
I collaborated with some amazing Nepali producers on the more electronic tracks.
 
Musicmandir – Do you enjoy listening to any Indian artists?
Jerusha Rai – Yes, Ive been heavily influenced by musicians from Darjeeling and Sikkim like Bipul Chettri and J-Hola. You would have to educate me on your current music scene further South 🙂

Jerusha just released a new track a few days ago called ‘Witching Hour’, you can listen to it here.

If you like what you read, have a listen to our homegrown playlist of Independent artists across India here.