The veteran singers awarded Druk Norbu
Ap Karma Rinchen, 77, from Namshong in Zhemgang received Druk Norbu award at the Living Treasure for Culture Award, Druk Norbu, organised by Music of Bhutan Research Centre (MBRC) on 28 October.
Ap Karma Rinchen served as a member of Bhutan’s military band for seven years under the guidance of Dasho Aku Trongmi.
The third Druk Gyalpo commanded him to join Royal Body Guard (RBG) as a court dancer after performing in the wedding of Ashi Deki and Dasho Katu in Paro.
Ap Karma then served in RBG for additional 17 years. “I was made to learn and practice from my senior dancers,” he said, adding that he was also commanded to teach Bazerwala (military drill) in Trashigang School.
Aum Tshomo, 88 from Trongsa was also awarded Druk Norbu award. She made her name as a singer during the reign of the third Druk Gyalpo.
She also served as the lead dancer in Trongsa for more than six years to guide dzongkhag dancers in traditional Bhutanese songs and dances. She said, “I performed solo to Yum Phuntsho Choden, Ashi Choki, and Ashi Pem Dechen at Tripang Palace on many occasions.”
She also performed to the third King at the same palace where she was awarded coins, including betam (silver coins), dayang, food stuff, and outfits.
The skilled performers from Bji in Trongsa presented rare dances and songs of Mangdi called Tambay Lekso, Beem and Zhewa Mezhu.
Druk Norbu award was instituted in the year 2010 to honor lifetime achievements in traditional music. Since then, MBRC has honored special elders for their lifetime achievement in traditional music.
Some of the recipients of the award include Aum Thinlem in 2010, Ap Tsheten Dorji and Aum Tshewang Lham in 2011, and Drimpon Sonam Dorji and Aum Nyimchu Pem in 2012.
The Bhutanese culture is marked by unique artisanal traditional music and folk dance of which is a century’s old and complex art from that carries themes, values and anesthetic sensibilities central to Bhutanese identity unlike other traditions.
The founding Director of MBRC, Kheng Sonam Dorji, said, “The award is as a part of appreciation and reorganization from the public,” he said. He added that it is also to preserve and promote the diminishing traditional songs and dances.
The award is bestowed upon elder artists who have demonstrated outstanding lifelong commit- ment, dedication, propagation and achievement on the music and who have had a significant impact on the cultural life of the nation.
The event was inaugurated by Home Minister Lyonpo Dawa Gyaltshen. More than 40 participants, including the vet- eran singers from across the country, attended the event.
Bhutan’s Living Treasure for Culture Award was conducted annually by the Music Bhutan Research Centre, a civil society organization initiated by Kheng Sonam Dorji.