Our Story

In 1995 Ram Prasad Kadel began a collection of traditional Nepali folk musical instruments in an effort to curtail the impending loss of his countries precious musical heritage. Profits from Ram’s own business financed research trips & purchases of endangered folk instruments. He subsequently founded The Nepali Folk Musical Instrument Museum (NFMIM) and registered it as a charity with the Nepal Government in 1997.

By 2002 this collection had become the largest and most comprehensive in Nepal and a decision was taken to open the museum to public access in temporary premises at Bhadrakali Temple in central Kathmandu. Finally in 2007 the museum, then holding more than 260 types of instruments, was re-housed in larger and more suitable, fully renovated, premises at Tripureswor Mahadev Temple and renamed Music Museum of Nepal.

The Museum now holds a collection of 650 distinct Nepali folk musical Instruments.  Over the years we have broadened our scope to encompass the rediscovery, conservation and promotion of the entire spectrum of Nepal’s traditional musical heritage.

Nepal has more than 100 different ethnic groups and castes, each with their own musical culture and traditions to mark every occasion and rite of passage from birth to death and beyond. Nepali people arrange many musical ceremonies according to their own caste’s traditions and rituals, and there are professional musicians among the Gaine, Damai & Badi people. Our research indicates that there are more than 550 distinct musical instruments in this small, but culturally rich, nation.

We believe Nepali folk music culture belongs to  all our peoples, from the high Himalaya to the plains of the Teraai.  We wish for all to appreciate the vulnerability of their heritage.

Because modern western music now frequently overshadows folk music, we believe there is an urgent need to inform and involve younger people in all aspects of traditional Nepali folk music.

The realisation that the number of folk musicians as well as some of the less common instruments, were in rapidly decline prompted us to collect and conserve  instruments, to record  folk melodies and playing techniques and to preserve the skills of instrument making crafts workers. We maintain that authentic Nepali music runs through the veins of all proud Nepali citizens.

Our Activities

  • Identification of endangered folk musical instruments and also their musicians.

  • Collection of more than 260 different types of instruments       from widespread locations.

  • Research into names and origins of folk instruments and their relation to specific ethnic groups or castes.

  • Musical training classes for both adults and children.

  • Regular concerts eg featuring rare instruments or music of a particular area broadcast live each Saturday on FM radio.

  • Publication of books, training manuals, audio CDs and DVDs

  • The audiovisual recording of instrument making craftsmen, traditional musicians, singers, and dancers.

  • Transcription of melodies in musical notation.

  • Collection of lyrics.

  • Development of the museum as a facilitated, sophisticated musical resource centre with a comprehensive, archive, data base and library of video and audio recordings, books and manuscripts and music scores for the use of students and researcher workers.

  • Support of poor musicians and their families.

  • Providing study bursaries for talented young musicians.

  • Forming international links with music institutions in other countries.

  • Promoting music festivals and playing competitions in many districts of Nepal.

  • The public exhibition of rare instruments at festivals and the demonstration of playing techniques.

Current Projects:

  • We provide a museum of Nepali instruments open to public as well as tour groups, school groups and other educational purposes.

  • We provide lesson space for traditional music instruction.

  • We provide space for music festivals, events and cpncerts.

  • Thanks to a start up grant from The British Library, we are now working on digitizing our audio and video collections. We think it will take 3 years to complete this project, but only have a grant to cover the first year so far.

  • We continue to collect endangered Nepali folk instruments and to record historically important music and musicians.

  • We provide our own educational books, CDs and DVDs for sale.

Future Goals and Hopes

  • To finish digitizing our collections.

  • To be able to share our resources and knowledge base with other educational institutions.

  • To provide educational opportunities for students and interns interested in musical and historical archiving.

  • To purchase and install either solar lightning and back up electricity or generator for electric back-up power.

  • To continue to record historically and culturally important events, festivals, music and historical individuals with a combination of interviews as well as musical performances.

  • To find new ways to advertise our museum and our projects.

  • To make a small recording studio at the museum