Techung in Tibetan

Tibetan Music Preservation (TMP) Project

Crowd-funding campaign in GoFundme: https://www.gofundme.com/tibetanmusicpreservation

Tibet is often called the Ocean of Songs. Since the time immemorial Tibetan have been singing and playing music as part of their lives. One can perhaps argue that nowhere else in the world the music plays so intrinsically linked to daily lives as in Tibet.

Genre of traditional Tibetan music called Nangma and Toeshey became widely popular in the sixteenth and seventeenth century in central Tibet with formation of Nangma kyiduk or groups. With support of the Tibetan government, Nangma groups further expanded and the music itself developed and in due course it came to be associated specifically with official functions.

In the aftermath of China’s occupation of Tibet in the 1950s, like all other aspects of Tibetan culture and way of life, Tibet’s musical tradition suffered greatly. The Communist China has either banned or appropriated Tibetan music to serve as propaganda tools. This political problem is further worsened with influence of Chinese crass pop music that is readily made available en mass across the occupied Tibet. As a result in today’s Tibet, the root to authentic Tibetan musical tradition is lost, and new generation of Tibetans grow up who are denied any knowledge of their musical heritage.

In exile, however, under the leader of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the cultural institutions like the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) have preserved and promoted Tibet’s musical traditions to a great extent. TIPA has multi-pronged approach to many aspects of Tibet’s performing tradition such as opera, dance, theatre, musical instruments as well as Nangma and Toeshey.

The Tibetan Music Preservation (TM) was initiated based on this crucial fact and it has great prospect to collect, record, distribute and perform traditional songs to new generation of Tibetans growing under heavy influence of Chinese pop songs in Tibet, and Hindi film songs and Western music in exile. These musics have nothing to do with their roots, culture and identity. From a historical point of view, the TMP has potential to play an important chain-link that will connect Tibet’s past tradition to its future generations.

Goals:

TMP plans to record, preserve and revive traditional and classical music. The recordings aspire to honor the past and inspire younger generations and in the process build a bridge to a wider audience who can appreciate Tibetan music and its culture. More specifically TMP aims:

  • to research and compile a catalogue of Nangama and Toeshey from older generation who may no longer be with us in a few years

  • to record these songs in collaboration with best Tibetan musicians living in exile

  • to promote and to build a bridge between these music and the younger generation of Tibetans growing outside their culture, particularly in the West

  • to make these music available to the Tibetans and audience around the world to display an aspect of Tibetan culture that is very little know the international community and to enrich global music heritage

Project Strategy:

As a lifelong musician who focuses on and performs various genre of Tibetan music, I have acquired a fair amount of knowledge on both Nangama and Toeshey. However, in order to make this project a great success, I will follow these strategies to achieve the goals mentioned above.

A. Research & Song Selection
B. Recording & Mixing
C. Archiving of Songs and Lyrics
D. Launch, Distribution & Promotion
E. Educational Tour, Performance & Interaction

Project Outcome:

The final outcome of this project is as follows:

  1. A catalogue containing approximately 70 Nangmas and Toeshey songs.

  2. A comprehensive website and multiple copies of the Master Recording in CDs with lyrics (both in Tibetan and English translations) will be available to scholars, researchers and the general public at free of cost. At the same time copies of the Master Records in CD format will be donated to archives of the Office of the Dalai Lama, Library of Tibetan Works & Archives and the Department of Information & International Relations of the exiled Tibetan Government.

  3. Launch events and live performances at the Radio Free Asia in Washington DC along with guest musicians. The event will have a live streaming.

Conclusion

Tibetan civilization is at a crossroad. In Tibet under China all aspects of Tibetan culture and way of life is fast disappearing under systematic destruction, whereas in exile the outside influences filter through Tibetan language, culture and music daily. Under such dire circumstances, cultural projects such as TMP are likely to play crucial roles both in keeping the culture alive and also pass it to the future generation of Tibetans. The Tibetan Music Preservation project is a principled action against onslaught of wholesale destruction of Tibetan culture in Tibet and ever increasing influence of Western culture and consumerism in the exiled Tibet that alters Tibetan outlook and worldview. TMP is a one small step to challenge these overwhelming centers of power and influence and to give a sense of culture and identity in the younger generation of Tibetans, which will make them proud to be Tibetans in the 21st century. Furthermore, this will contribute to the enrichment of global culture by preserving, promoting and displaying genres of Tibetan music that will otherwise disappear into the dustbin of history.


The complete proposal, timeline and budget is available at techung@techung.com

Find out more about the project at TibetanMusicPreservation.wordpress.com.

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