A young girl who’s been performing in musical stages since 2012 finds herself a contestant in the ‘Voice of Nepal’ reality show. There, with her powerful vocals and thrilling stage presence, she becomes an instant hit. By the time she’s ousted, she’s gained a hug fan base and created a brand name for herself. This is the story of 25-year-old Ashra Kunwar, one of the few female singers in the country who can call themselves rockers. Ashra, a story-teller herself, is now ready to the hit the music industry with her band “Ashra and the Parables,” with plans to release its debut EP “Aabash” soon.
“I used to sing with different artists before but during my time at Voice of Nepal, I realized I need to be up there on the stage with my own band. My vocals do not match singing with backing tracks,” says Ashra about the band’s formation despite her popularity as a solo singer. “From now on I’ll only be performing with the band wherever I’m invited.”
With Ashra in the lead vocals, Rupesh Pariyar and Suman Khatri on guitars and Asis Shyawa on drums, the band has already hit the studios to record its five-song EP. “We’re also in the pre-production phase of our debut music video,” Ashra informs. “Won’t be long before we release it.”
About the music, the band draws inspiration from Ashra’s biggest influences—Amy Lee from the band Evanescence and Linda Perry from 4 Non Blondes. Ashra also confesses to be a big fan of our own Ciney Gurung. “I just love her voice and the fact that she is so humble and respectful,” she says.
The lyrics in the EP are all written by Ashra. The accompanying music will be progressive rock. What will separate the band from other artists in similar genres will be its lyrical content and messaging. Ashra is also an environmental scientist, climate activist and a PhD scholar who has been continuously working to raise awareness against climate change and environmental deterioration. She has represented Nepal in climate conferences all over the world and wants to blend her knowledge, education and experience into music to make it a powerful awareness tool.
“Although I am a serious student in the field of environment, performing has always been my passion,” Ashra says. “So finding the right balance whereby I can continue both music and my research work was a must for me.” Thus came to her the idea of merging her music with current climate issues. She gives the example of the song “Bodhi Brikshya” from her upcoming EP that talks about why trees are important for the environment and why deforestation needs to be curbed.
“There have in the past been songs that talk about nature and conservation but ours will also include factual findings from my research to make them more impactful,” Ashra says. The EP will be called “Aabash” for it translates to ‘presence’, and is named after her late brother