Sanjay Shrestha has been playing music since he was a student at St Xavier’s school. He played in numerous school bands and Brother Josh Niraula, who noticed his talent, gifted him his first guitar. In 1997 he formed Shristi with fellow Xaverians Ashish Sinha and Parangat Moktan while studying in Campion Academy in 12th Grade. Shristi is remembered as bringing 'fusion' music to the mainstream audience in Nepal and was one of the first bands to cut a CD album in Nepal. Sanjay deferred his studies to tour America twice with Shristi, recording three albums: Made in Thamel, One Night in Kathmandu and Namaste.
Sanjay joined 1974AD in 1999 as a percussionist, moving to drums in 2009. He has recorded 5 albums with 1974AD – Jungi Nishan, Limited Edition, Pinjada Ko Suga, On Air and Aath Athara. Although he is not a vocalist, he has co-written the lyrics to many of the songs and sings the song ‘Swargadapi gariyasi’ on the Album ‘On Air’. 1974AD has taken him to the four corners of the globe playing to audiences in America, the United Kingdom, India, Qatar, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Korea, Thailand and Hong Kong. Last October 1974AD played to over 20,000 people in Darling Harbour, Sydney. But this is not the largest audience they have played to: in 2001 they played to around 40,000 at the National Stadium in Nepal.
In addition to his busy touring schedule, Sanjay has performed and recorded with many high profile national and international musicians. He played percussions on the hit album ‘Moments of Bliss’ for renowned Buddhist nun and vocalist Ani Choyang Dolma. He has also collaborated in live shows with Mukti Shakya, Robin Tamang, Deep Shrestha, bamboo flutist Manose Singh, Grammy Award winning bluegrass singer Peter Rowan, British folk singer Donovan Leech, Max Lolo from Benin in West Africa, the Sunny Jain Collective from New York, Richard Hardy the saxophone player for Carol King and the Dave Matthews Band, and Sachal Vasandani, jazz vocalist from New York, among others.
While Sanjay's first instrument was the Nepali folk maadal, his experience has led him to experiment with all kinds of drums and percussions and various forms of music including fusion, rock, classical, jazz, reggae, and heavy rock. He has been a part of many ‘side projects’ including The McTwisters (led by Berkley trained Czech saxophonist Peter Kroutil), Stupa (with Spanish sax player and educator Mariano Abello), and Project Experience (with Robin Tamang, Nirakar Yakthumba, Mariano Abello, Vikku Chhetri and Raju and Ruben from Kutumba). He was also a member of Rusty Nails and Alt F4 briefly, in 1999 and 2010, respectively. Lately, he has developed a taste for reggae and performed a season with Australian reggae band Pachooka and is currently livening up the Kathmandu party scene with Joint Family Internationale.
In 2009, Sanjay started Musicology, a music promotion company. Musicology has teamed up with Hits FM to hold a concert series ‘Music by the Museum’ at Patan Museum featuring Nepali musicians in fresh ways. In August 2009, Sanjay and some fellow Xaverians founded House of Music, which has gone on to become one of the premier live music venues in Kathmandu. As this goes to print, Sanjay and 1974AD are playing a music festival in Genoa Italy and then on to Norway and Denmark.