Love the Song Without Knowing the Words

I had to leave out so much in my Nepal book. So many slices of time, so many valuable bits that just didn’t seem to fit at the moment. One that has returned to mind over and over is about a song. Late in the tour (the one with the famous musicans and concerts on the road) our travelling group had become so comfortable with each other that we all relaxed, as if you would with your family after a holiday meal. There was time for repose and thought, playfulness and silence. There were large blocks of time with nothing assigned to most of us. It allowed me to see into each person a little deeper than I had before.

One morning, before our largest concert, we were relaxing at AC’s family compound in Salleri. We collected in the warm sun of the patio and took turns running through the shower on the big show day. The musicians took turns strumming guitars, telling jokes and relaxing into conversation that I couldn’t understand, except when someone would see my knit eyebrows and determined stare and be moved enough to translate for me.

Mingma set his ankle on his knee and began playing his guitar. He strummed gently, working through words for a song that was not yet complete. Midway through he paused, noticing how interested I was. “It’s a song for the youth. It says ‘it’s our turn to make change, to bring good'” he said, then began singing again.

For three years that’s all I really knew about the song, except that I loved it. Well, that and the fact that his description had me teary and blown away. It occurred to me that if a musician in a developing country can have so much hope for the future, and can relay it to the youth in that country through his songs, then it is a valuable, necessary message. After seeing the prevalence of convoluted politics and rampant corruption, and the poverty, and utter lack of everything we take for granted here, I really needed to hear that the people who live with it also have hope and desire to make it better. And they do.

Mingma finished his song. I talked to him this morning and asked him again to tell me the words in English. Below is the video and the gist of the words. I think even without the words, the message is pretty clear. Take a listen.


It’s our turn
The youth
We are all one
We are human
That is our caste, our religion
The problems of the politicians
and our country are ours
The country is our mother
She is not happy, she is begging for our help
But we can do positive things
and bring change
We are young
It is our turn