By Kunzang Palmo | MusicTibet
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 6 September 2015
High above the hustle and bustle of Dharamshala, in what is known as the Dalai Lama’s home, the Tibetan Music Awards 2015 began with an auspicious welcome as a double rainbow appeared on Saturday evening after a huge downpour.
In McLeod Ganj from the top floor of Norbu House the sounds of chant master Geshe Thupten Kunkhen reached beyond the clouds, merging heaven and earth, as the attendees absorbed his deep-toned mesmerizing chants. The Master of Ceremonies, Lobsang Wangyal, a well-known man-about-town, started the evening with an informative talk about Tibetan music within an historical and modern context. He then explained that the Awards themselves began in 2003, and were co-sponsored by Laughing Buddha Music from New York for the 2015 season.
As the evening progressed, the audience was treated to moving and lively performances by Chondhen, Sanjay and friend from the Himalayan Band, and Tsona Tennor. The announcement of the international winners was posted online as nominees world-wide awaited the results. The online voting process took place during the first ten days of July. Approximately 300 votes were received for the 2014-2015 season for the 18 categories.
One winner was present at the ceremony: Tenzin Woeser from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts, who won for Best Opera Singer and was presented his award on stage. Woeser then sang a moving opera piece in praise of the Dalai Lama. The Lifetime Achievement award was given to Namsur Thinley Gonpo (aka Dobdob la), the Lhamo (opera) instructor of Bylakuppe Lhamo Association. The Best Male Singer award was given to Tenzin Dawa Tsona, from the Netherlands, and the Best Female Singer award was given to Tenzin Dolma of New York City.
The audience particularly enjoyed listening to an historical song specifically composed for the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday: “Happy 80th Birthday”. The song was written by Beri Jigme and composed/sung by Jamyang Choeden, and produced by Lobsang Wangyal. Especially moving was a video presentation of a song about the Dalai Lama, “Thank You Dalai Lama” by Tenzin Dawa Tsona, which won the Best Song award.
The conclusion of the Awards included a video presentation of a double win – Best Music Video/Best Love Song – “Sempa Shorsa” by Tenzin Tsukputh. The video was directed by Lodoe Gyamtso, and had a touch of humour.
After the ceremony guests mingled and enjoyed complimentary chai and cookies. The special guests were treated to a dinner at the Hotel Tibet.