Resham firiri-रेशम फिरिरी

Music from the Himalayan Kingdom

If you are from Nepal, you know this song. If you have been to Nepal, you would have definitely heard this song. If you know someone from Nepal, you might probably know this song.

Resham firiri (रेशम फिरिरी) is a very popular folk song from Nepal. Young ones or elderly, village people or city dwellers, traditional, old fashioned or modern, you will hear this song in almost every occasion when Nepalese have to share happiness, sing and dance.

Lets begin. The purpose of my writing this post is to inform about this song and explore how this song reflects Nepali life and culture. Being someone from Nepal, my purpose is to inform people in other countries, though our own Nepali brothers and siters might like it as well.

Origin:
I checked with various sources in the internet. It is believed that this song was collected in the villages of Pokhara by Buddhi Pariyar (father of Dharmendra Sewan, Nepali Tara, First Runner up, First Edition) and was first recored in Radio Nepal. The song was sung by Dwarika Lal Joshi and Sunder Shrestha.  Tirtha Bahadur Gandarba is also attributed to collecting and singing this song. As this is a folk song of Nepal, it is hard to say whether a single person composed or wrote it. Usually, folk songs are composed and sung by the village people. People sing folk songs while doing everyday work, while walking up and down the hill, in fetes and festivals and this way the songs remain rooted in the society. Folk singers and musicians, pick up the tunes, collect the lyrics and arrange the music and subsequently record them. So, it will be difficult to say exactly where it started from and who actually composed it.

The Lyrics:
The song’s lyrics goes as follows:

In Nepali (नेपालीमा)

रेशम  फिरिरी रेशम  फिरिरी
उडेर जाउँ कि डाँडामा भन्ज्यांग,
रेशम  फिरिरी

कुकुरलाई कुती कुती, बिरालोलाई सुरी
तिम्रो हाम्रो माया प्रिती दोबाटोमा कुरी
एकनाले बन्दुक  दुइनाले बन्दुक, मिर्गलाई ताकेको
मिर्गलाई मैले ताकेको होइन, मायालाई डाकेको
आकाशमा जहाज  सडकमा मोटर नभए गाडा छ
यो मन जस्तो त्यो मन भए तागत गाढा छ
सानोमा सानो गाईको बाच्छो भिरैमा राम  राम
छोडेर जान सकिन मैले, बरु माया संगै जाउँ
Sound in English:
Resham firiri, resham firiri
Udera jaunkee dandaa ma bhanjyang
Resham firiri
Kukuralai kuti kuti biralolai suri
Timro hamro mayapirti dobatoma kuri
Ek nale banduk, dui nale banduk, mirga lai takeko
Mirga lai mailey takeko hoina maya lai dakay ko
Aakash ma jahaz, sadak ma motor, na bhaye gaada cha
Yo mana jasto tyo mana bhaye tagatai gada cha
Saano ma sano gaai ko bachho bhirai ma, Ram, Ram
Chodera jaana sakina maile, baru maya sanghai jaun
English Translation:
This is unofficial English translation courtesy of various people in the internet.
My heart is fluttering like silk in the wind
I cannot decide whether to fly or sit on the hilltop
To the dog-it’s puppy, puppy, to the cat-it’s meow meow
Our love is-waiting at the crossroads.
One-barrelled gun, two-barrelled gun, targeted at a deer.
It’s not the deer that I am aiming at, but at my beloved.
Aeroplane in the sky, motor on the roads, If not then bullock cart.
If your heart feels the same as mine then come..
The tiny baby calf is in danger at the precipice.
I couldn`t leave it there, let`s go together, my love.

——————————————————————

While we find this standard lyrics in many original versions of this song, there are plenty of additional lines usually added to this song when people sing this song. I even found people using different variation within this lyrics as well.

Trekking guides version of this song is:

Resham Firiri, Resham Firiri
I am a donkey, you are a monkey
Resham Firiri

Resham Firiri, Resham Firiri
Sometimes trekking, sometimes rafting
Resham Firiri
Resham Firiri, Resham Firiri
Sometimes drinking, sometimes sinking
Resham Firiri

This are the satyrical lines for the trekkers when trekking guides and porters are working like donkeys and trekkers (tourists) are hopping around like monkeys.
——————————————————————

Meaning and Interpretation:
The lyrics of song is composed of pair of lines. The first verse, Resham firiri is repeated through out the song after every other pair of lines. The first line (in the pair) usually does not make much of the sense. While those are like metaphors, the second lines talks about the main theme of the song. In my interpretation, the song is about love, one boy and a girl and how the boy is trying to convince his beloved. There are other interpretations as well. The people living in the high mountains/hills have many difficulties in life and through this song, those elements are expressed.

Popular Culture:
This song is representative song for the people of mountains, hills and villages. During feasts and festivals, it is common for people to sing this song and entertain themselves. This song is also common song for introducing Nepali tradition and culture to foreigners through singing this song, performing dance and playing instrumental version. Foreigners during their stay in Nepal will hear this song during various parts of their tour, either trekking, sight-seeing, cultural shows, parties, and several social activities.

Musical Instruments:
The original version of the song  uses the following musical instruments:

Sarangi (violin like Nepali musical instrument)
Madal (Nepali traditional drum)
Basuri (Nepali flute)
etc

The modern versions use several other musical instruments like guitars, keyboards, drums etc.

Now, let’s hear, watch and learn about several versions of the song.

Here is the fairly original song. I couldn’t figure out who sang it. If it is original duo by Dwarika Lal Joshi and Sunder Shrestha or Tirtha Bahadur Gandarba.

 

Here is another beautiful version by Satish Maharjan and Lochan Bhattarai.

Here is the version by Praveen Gurung and friends.

Here is another version by Pemba Chhoti Sherpa

 

Here is another slightly poppish version.

Internationalization
Here is the Resham Firiri by group of International volunteers and artists. These songs were recorded and performed as part of project to support building schools for children in Nepal. For more about the project, please visit: http://resammphiriry.com

The pictures, videos and the songs are heart touching.

 

 

Here is a swift melodious version by Japanese musician SHiMA(Taro8).

 

This is by a Japanese lady wonderfully singing it.

 

Resham Firiri beautifylly sung by a Japanese artist with sarangi.

Resham firiri by some Japanese guys (at the bar) SKIP to 6.25 for Resham Firiri! (if it does not start at that point automatically)

 

There is also Japanese version of this song Resham Firiri (with different lyrics of course) originally by Mai Yamane. Here is the covered version of the song by a group of Japanese artists. Though it sounds different, the music is from original resham firiri.

 

Instrumental versions:

There are various intrumental versions of Resham Firiri both by national and international artists.

Here is the version by popular Nepali band, Kutumba.

Here is a beautiful version by Gurkha band, hill boys and us band.

Here is Paulino Pereiro’s violin-ish version I found on youtube, which is equally beautiful and magical. The still pictures represent faces of Nepal.

 

Here is Nepal Adventurers’ photo-video compilation of Nepal and Trekking in the Everest region with westernized Resham Firiri.

 

Resham Firiri in daily lives:

Here you can watch two gentle-men with guitar lead children singing beautiful Resham Firiri.

 

Resham Firiri in CU Boulder

Resham Firiri in by the Gandarbas in the streets

Resham Firiri Cultural Dance and Show

 

 

Acknowledgement:

I found many of the lyrics and translation of this song through various websites. I would like to thank all those people in the internet whose names I could not mention here but without you people, I could have never compiled it.

Motivation:

While participating as volunteer for cross cultural awareness programme, I wanted to present this song and sing with foreign students. As I started listening, watching and learning, I thought it would be better to summarize what I have found so that others can also benefit.

Note to the readers:
While I have tried my best to accumulate the facts and tried my best in compiling accurate information, it is still incomplete and there may be many errors in what I have interpreted. I look forward to your suggestions and comments.

Updates:
20 January 2015: Removed the links to non-existent videos.

26 December 2016: Some refinement. New article going to be published in January 2017.

Image source: Leila Hafzi

6 Replies to “Resham firiri-रेशम फिरिरी”

  1. Dhanyawad for this collection of this beautiful song! Do You live in Nepal? I'll be there in around October 2012, maybe I can thank You personally for Your merits. Markus

  2. A well written blog, i have been trying to find more info. about this song. How it originated, who sang and so on  and you are spot on with this on this blog. 
    I want to say a Big Thank You to you for putting out this blog. 
    On a side note, have you considered digging into more details about this article. Like trying to locate the person "Buddhi Pariyar" or "Tirtha Bahadur Gandarba" who are the Protagonist of this song. Trying to get some more info from "RADIO NEPAL" about this song..
    I really think it would be a good idea, if you can get hold of this person and do a short interview article or video article about this song, how it originated, where are they now, how they started, the fame it bought to their life and their after-life after this song was recorded and released.. 
    I for one is dying to know the answers to the above question.. 
    Thank you. 
    Biren Tangbe
     

    1. Dear Biren Tangbe,
      You’re most welcome and it’s good to hear that you so into this song. I had plans to dig further into this and I thank you for your suggestions, I’ll keep in mind and hopefully answer your queries. While I know some info even now, I will take time to confirm my information with official sources and put it here.
      Happy Time, Best wishes,
      Aabhash 🙂

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