Tibet is an ocean of songs says former kalon at a music workshop at TIPA
Dharamsala, 22 April 2003: Around 35 music teachers have arrived in Dharamsala to attend a workshop on Tibetan traditional music, conducted by the Education Department in coordination with the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA). The music teachers, who are mostly graduates from the Institute, will undergo fifteen days of intensive training on the techniques of teaching young students music, drama and operatic singing.
During the inaugural ceremony, which was observed with traditional fried rice and butter tea, the education officer Mr. Tsewang Samdup, introduced the occasion as the biggest gathering of Tibetan music teachers ever held in Dharamsala. He said, ” The workshop will not only help to improve the quality of the teachers; it is also a useful forum for sharing the experience of the participants and for understanding the problems faced by each teacher.”
The former kalon, Shewo Lobsang Dhargyal, arrived as the Chief Guest. He related, in an interesting speech, his deep knowledge of the Tibetan culture. In a brief background on the Tibetan traditional songs, he said, “Singing is an important aspect of the Tibetan way of life. Nowhere else would one find more songs for different occasions than in the Tibetan culture.” He also said, “The tradition of singing is historically mentioned as early as the seventh century, during the period of Songtsen Gampo, and also when the Indian saint Padmasambhava arrived in Tibet, consecrating the great Samye monastery.” To underscore this fact, he shared his personal experience as a prisoner after the occupation of the country. When taken to China as a laborer, even under difficult hardship he revealed, “Tibetans would pass the strenuous moments by singing traditional songs, while the other prisoners remain overburdened by suffering silently.”
The former Kalon quoted a popular line from one of the leading Tibetan artistes. It said, “Tibet is an ocean of songs.”
The guest of honour, Ms. Kalsang Youdon Dagpo, thanked the chief guest for his time. She stressed the need to preserve the unique Tibetan lhamo (opera) tradition, which has its own place as one of a kind in Asia. Ms. K. Y. Dagpo said that the inclusion of the opera lesson in the workshop is timely and highly laudable. As the director of TIPA, she expressed willingness to support in every possible way the efforts towards making the workshop a success.
The two-weeklong workshop will be given by senior artistes from the Institute. Among the participants are experienced music teachers, who will also impart valuable knowledge. The lessons include training on Tibetan opera singing and drama, and give background knowledge of musical instruments. The program also includes educational tours around Dharamsala.