Tawo Lobsang Palden dies — Pioneer of Tibetan pop music

Tawo Lobsang Palden in an undated file photo.

Tawo Lobsang Palden in an undated file photo.
Photographer unknown

Tibet Sun Online News

ON THE WEB, 7 February 2019

A pioneer of Tibetan pop music, Tawo Lobsang Palden, passed away in Germany on Monday. He was 68.

A medical doctor by profession, Palden was also known for composing songs and music. His first musical album Trinkhor was released in 1985 enthralling Tibetans around the world. Since then he added four more albums to a “Trinkhor” series.

Palden was on the Board of Directors of the Tadra Project, an organisation providing education to orphans in Kham and Amdo, Tibet. The project was started in 1995.

He had a short stint in politics as well after he announced his candidacy for the post of Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister of Tibetans-in-exile) in 2011. But he withdrew soon after due to a sudden illness that required hospitalisation.

Tawo Lobsang Palden was born in 1951, in Kham, Tibet. After the Chinese invasion of Tibet, he fled his homeland with his parents. He attended the St Augustin school in Kalimpong for two years and then joined the Tibetan Refugee School in Simla, India. In 1963, at the age of 12 he left India for Germany together with some other Tibetan children.

In Germany, after completing his college education, he studied medicine at the University of Heidelberg, earning a degree to become a medical doctor in 1979. Since then he worked as a medical doctor in internal medicine in different hospitals. Since 1983 he worked in the state hospital in Lüdenscheid, which is affiliated with the University of Bonn, as a senior doctor.

He has been married to Choeni Lhamo since 1973, with three children.

Lobsang Palden’s childhood was very much influenced by the nomadic singing in Kham. He learned his first songs from his parents, who both came from Tawo in Kham province. During his school time in Germany he learned classic violin for six years, some guitar, and also the Tibetan dramnyen and flute. But his real passion was song-writing and singing. He was known to have written more than 40 songs, and some of them are played even today.

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