The Sarangi Music Lesson – A Bard’s Tale

Learning Sarangi with Samber

I met Samber while we were eating lunch one afternoon. He was walking by and playing a strange instrument. When he noticed my interest he came over to sell me one and then offered to give me a lesson.

The instrument was a Sarangi and as he walked with me to a shady bench by the lake for our lesson, he also spoke to me about himself and the history of the music.

Samber comes from a musician family that has been playing and building instruments for generations. He can play dozens of different instruments and personally built the Sarangi that I bought.

Before television and radio reached the remote regions of Nepal in the 1950’s, the Sarangi was the primary source of information and entertainment. The musicians would go from village to village and into the big cities, gathering news and stories, setting them to music and then spreading the tales along with them.

Learning Sarangi with Samber

Learning Sarangi with Samber

Turns out I am terrible at playing the Sarangi! Which is no reflection on Samber’s skill as a teacher. The idea of the Bard’s instrument is very romantic to me and I enjoyed my time with the soft-spoken, always smiling, immensely talented Samber. I’ll keep practicing.

This is Samber playing the Nepali National Anthem on his Sarangi. The video was recorded and shared with his permission.

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