How Parikrama's Sonam Sherpa inspired a generation of Indian rock guitarists

Parikrama was started in 1991 in Delhi by Subir Malik (keyboards), Nitin Malik (vocals), Chintan Kalra (bass), Prashant Bahadur (guitars), Rahul Malhotra and Sherpa
Sonam Sherpa (Pic: Guwahati Plus)
Sonam Sherpa (Pic: Guwahati Plus)

Sonam Sherpa, founding member and lead guitarist of the famous Indian rock band Parikrama, who passed away in his hometown Kurseong in West Bengal on Friday, also founded and ran the Parikrama school of music based at Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi, which is the first music school in the city to teach Western Contemporary Music. 

Started in 2003, the school has a structured syllabus, and is conducting examinations under the world-renowned Rockschool Trinity of London. The music school incorporates the Rockschool and Trinity syllabus for the Grade Exams. "However, the classes go beyond the set syllabus to ensure the student has an in-depth knowledge of other aspects of music as well," states the school's website.

The 48-year-old musician reportedly died due to a massive cardiac arrest. Born in West Bengal on October 8, 1971, Sherpa was one of the founding members of Parikrama and was credited with memorable musical pieces such as "I Beleive" and "But it Rained". Sherpa was in Kurseong to record music for an upcoming movie. Sherpa did his schooling in Kalimpong from St Augustine's School. He went to Delhi for his graduation at Kirori Mal College, where he pursued B Com(Hons).

He was also a founding member of the band Mrigya and North East Express. Sherpa was featured on CNBC's Young Turks, a show focusing on young entrepreneurs. The BBC also featured him and his band in a rockumentary while on their Download Festival Tour. His first stint in the Indian film industry (Bollywood) began by composing the songs and music for the feature film “Manjunath”.

Parikrama was started in 1991 in Delhi by Subir Malik (keyboards), Nitin Malik (vocals), Chintan Kalra (bass), Prashant Bahadur (guitars), Rahul Malhotra and Sherpa. Parikrama is one of the oldest rock bands in India.

Many from the music industry expressed shock at his sudden death. Ehsaan Noorani, from the Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy musical trio, tweeted a picture of the late guitar virtuoso with a caption expressing his heartfelt condolences. "Eternal rocker awesome guitarist and a lovely guy #SonamSherpa has gone into the light ... will remember the jams and the hangouts @parikrama," he wrote.
Music composer Vishal Dadlani expressed his condolences on Sherpa’s death on social media. “You were always the kindest heart. I wish we’d spent more time together, man. I wish we’d played more gigs together. I wish I’d hung out with you more while there was still time. I wish I’d gotten to know your wife and kid so I could tell them today, what a great guy you were. Can't believe you’re gone, #SonamSherpa. I can't even begin to imagine what @parikramaindia @subirmalik666 @nitinmaliklive are feeling right now,” he wrote. “A true Indian legend has passed on. #SonamSherpa was more than a guitar-player. He was a pioneer, a teacher and an inspiration to so many. He was also a good friend and always humble despite his brilliance and popularity. Heartbroken. Truly, truly heartbroken,” he added.

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