Tilak Singh Pela: How a singer with deep and soulful voice made a comeback in Nepali music industry

Through his Gajal “Ke Lat Basyo”, Tilak Pela is becoming a name that holds special significance among Nepali music lovers.

Dhan Bahadur Khadka

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: Tilak Singh Pela stands out in terms of his musical journey. Born and raised in Baitadi, the far-western remote district of Nepal, he chose modern songs as his favorite genre. He was clear from the beginning that he would be different from others. 

Baitadi was a society known for Deuda, a typical Nepali folk genre of song and dance performed in the Sudur Paschim and Karnali provinces of the country. Instead of choosing that genre, he released his first album “Aanshu” (tear in English), a collection of modern Nepali songs, in 1996. 

The first album met with moderate success–in the era when cassette players, a major medium to reach out to the music lovers back in those days, were in vogue. Yet, the overall sales of his album was good.

Then this singer with an extraordinary voice disappeared all of a sudden. He was not heard. He was not seen. In a way, he was in hibernation.

Tilak Pela has now made a comeback in Nepal’s musical sphere with a different flavor of music. To borrow the jargon of the digital world, he has now become ‘viral.’ His new song “Ke Lat Basyo Malai” has been liked by many Nepalis. 

A singer has reemerged after 25 years in hibernation. 

A singer with a deep voice, Pela has been able to contribute quality music to Nepal’s music industry. Steadily, Pela is becoming talk of the town, especially among music lovers. The feedback by the audience on social media speaks volumes of his acceptability. 

“Ke Lat Basyo Malai” is becoming popular. People are appreciating his deep voice. Some people are even asking where this extraordinary singer has been for so many years.

Pela, however, is not much concerned about the buzz in the market. He is not bothered whether he fits in the definition of popular music or not. 

He strongly believes that popularity without hard work is meaningless. 

Popularity without quality work is a kind of injustice to music lovers, he says. That was the reason he took a long break from the music sector. He was searching for a Guru who could guide him to the right path. He met Pandit Dhana Bahadur Gopali and started a deep search for music. His passion did not end there. He kept on searching for Gurus of classical music. He went to Banaras and became a disciple of Debashish. 

Afterwards, he also started sharing his musical skills and knowledge with others. He started Shree Krishna Gurukul Pathshala in Kathmandu. 

Though he had disappeared in the eyes of others, he was in the course of finding himself through music. He believes that celebrity-dom does not make us wise. Our inner soul should be satisfied and we need to internalize the things that we are doing. “People thought that I was lost but I was making my presence through my learning. I was internalizing the essence of music,” Pela said.

By his personality traits, Pela does not chase popularity. For many years, he was reluctant to record new songs and make them public. 

But not long ago, he suddenly realized that he had promised to sing a song by a songwriter, who had already composed the music. “I deeply felt that I had done injustice to the songwriter by not recording the song,” he recalled. Then he made another song, called ‘Nirjan Kinar,’ public. But the song could not make it to the hit list. 

Last week, he released another song “Ke Lat Lagyo Malai…”. The song is now becoming popular among Nepalis. The song took a slow start. It was not noticed by YouTube users in the initial few days. But when people realized the depth of his voice and the feeling reverated in the song, he is now appreciated by many.

The story behind ‘Ke Lat Lagyo’ is also interesting. Pela himself did not want to become the singer of this particular song. He actually had wanted his student Kamal Bishta to sing the song.  But Pradeep Kumar Mainali, the writer of the gajal, was so impressed with Pela’s quality of voice that he asked him to sing the song instead. Pela could not say ‘no’ to the request by Mainali. 

As a result, Nepal’s music industry got a brilliant piece. Pela has now become a popular singer. He is getting noticed. I am satisfied with the reactions from listers, he says. 
Pela is now back, with big vibration, with hope and with quality in music.