At the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony held on the 10th of February, 2020, it wasn’t just Parasite that created history with its unprecedented big win. Parallely creating waves was also another unheralded young talent who rocked on through his own illuminated way. For perhaps those numbers that would sure fit within a scrunchie and for whom art does not know the way to their heart, the name doing the soul stirring horizon now is that of Arthur Gunn a.k.a. Dibesh Pokharel.
A 21 years young lad from Nepal, the country put by Forbes right at the top of its Ten Bucket List Trips, Dibesh Pokharel sure is on the right track to create history- or go down in it- as the voice that swept over the masses with his charismatic brilliance with his appearance in Season 18 of the popular reality show American Idol. A present resident of Wichita, Pokharel seems to be setting all the right precedents with his masterclass performance in how the world needs to go about living the American Dream.
Although Pokharel has been enjoying singing throughout his life, beginning as a child in Nepal and gradually developing into holding the mic at restaurants and cafes, it was in the months leading to his move to Wichita six years back that unfolded an altogether different world of melodious charm for him. It’s only a further assertion of his talent and impeccable musical credentials that even in hailing from a family where music didn’t permeate the air, Pokharel exudes such melody in his voice and hoards such soulful indulgences that left the judges of the show and millions of rave ‘listeners’ across the world spellbound by his choral intensity.
Obviously with names like John Martyn, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Bukka White, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker as his inspirations, Pokhrel couldn’t have afforded to do any less. Therefore he crooned with such melodious impact timeless numbers like Bob Dylan’s ‘Girl From The North Country’ and ‘Have You Ever Seen The Rain’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival that had judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan mesmerised by the true idol on stage. A seemingly foretelling Katy Perry already had punned on Dibesh as ‘de best’ even as Luke Bryan asked him already to do the Detroit opening for him. Richie was not to be left behind as well as his visible delight at the young man’s rockstar ready singing had him up and about hugging him.
The episode aired on 16th February last sure earned Pokhrel fans in not just the judges but awestruck netizens as well. Earlier a commercial aired during the Academy Awards also heralded the arrival of Pokhrel amidst the other Idols even as online promos circulating through the months sure had music enthusiasts excited at such rhythmic prospects. Dibesh did well to match his gritty, very bluesy vocals with amazing dexterity at plucking the guitar strings as well leaving judge Bryan so much in awe to hail him as the biggest star on American Idol ever!
Pokharel however sure should not be any alien to the brilliance of his voice either. Given that he already has an eight track album titled Grahan to his name apart from being the voice behind singles like Ma, Khoj and Karnali, Pokharel has always been a passionate pursuer of the arts. So much so that even his stage name encompasses the ‘art’ very prominently in its random but thoughtful expanse. On stage, Pokharel identifies as Arthur Gunn- a pseudonym that interestingly bears as much significance as his real name Dibesh. Meaning ‘light’ in the Nepali dialect, Dibesh sure extended the sensibility of the interpretation to Arthur Gunn as well.
Arthur itself spells with art, a place the singer identifies with his peace of mind while Hur is a play on a biblical name and means hole. Gunn also is not devoid of substance and is quite apparently a say on how he goes all guns blazing everytime he sets out on doing what he likes doing the best!
Arthur Gunn’s musical sensibilities are there for all to explore in his YouTube channel that is a delightful acoustic mix of the rocks and the blues. In fact his penchant for bluegrass and country music started stemming after the big move to the States which explains why he wants to achieve his American Dream through music. Perhaps in helping him pick up music once again as more than just a pursuit in leisure and also in expanding its fore for him, Wichita opened up such avenues for Pokharel that has been so much indispensable for his musical evolution.
Who knows, this season of the American Idol can well have the world idolising the ‘enlightened’ Nepali guy Dibesh Pokhral- and his classic endearing namaste as well!