And the show goes on…

Sonam Wangchen during his recent concert in Thundel, Sikkim (Pic: Sonam Wangchen)

Today, many Bhutanese are of the view that such revolution in Bhutanese music is a good thing for both the country and for the artist as well.

KARMA CHIMI

Thimphu

The Bhutanese music industry is seeing a drastic revolution in recent times with some popular artist and Bhutanese music breaking barriers and shooting to fame and admiration even in the international arena.

Bhutanese music enthusiasts feel that Yeshi Lhendup Films, Rigdrol Films and various YouTube channels and online platform have garnered interest from the global audience.

The recent scene of Sonam Wangchen along with Kelden Lhamo and Sherab Dorji doing their concert at Thundel, Sikkim can be touted as the highlight of Bhutanese music and artist going global.

For talented artistes like them, their supporters play a vital role in keeping the show going.

Sonam Wangchen’s concert in Sikkim was the first international concert for the singer and shares that he was quite surprised by the response of Sikkimese audience. He added, “I did not expect so many people to turn up for the show, they were very kind and welcoming to us.”

He said, Sikkim was a new experience for him and insists on performing in other countries if opportunity comes and platforms are provided.

We even have upcoming artistes and musicians who are well known in Northeast India and other part of Southeast Asian region.

While going international was already there, the trend has seen a huge surge recently. Ugyen Panday, a well-known Bhutanese artist and public figure reminiscences his tours and festivals that he has done before. He shares that the exposure and the talent is totally different from Bhutan.

Ugyen Panday highlights that he has experienced exposure and gained knowledge from the outside world by attending and performing numerous festivals. One such festival he is proud and happy is the fact that he was part of Rainforest Music Festival, one of the best music festivals in the world.

He added that that there is determination and interests from the youth in the field of music but what is lacking is the support from the government and the Bhutanese society to groom such talents.

“Skill development and collaboration with international organization should be enhanced,” he said.

He has high hopes for these young talents of Bhutan to go global but there should be utmost support and priority from all stakeholders.

Ugyen Panday emphasized that such talents and their venture towards the international arena should be supported by the Bhutanese at large.

Bhutan also saw rapper Chogyel Kunzang aka Chogo gaining significant popularity and signing with Royal Heir Entertainment, an international entertainment company focusing on media, marketing and distribution based in midwestern United States.

He is still involved with the Royal Heir Entertainment label and further wishes to continue working with them and grow accordingly.

Chogo said, “In regards to the support given by international platforms we are given a helping hand to broaden our music. It is a great pleasure to receive support from across the globe.”

He said Bhutanese artists face a lot of challenges such as expanding their brand in the markets since most of the listeners are youths. “I am grateful to Royal Heir Entertainment for giving me such a huge platform where the label can help my songs reach a wider audience.”

Compared to before, Bhutanese music industry is growing, not as an individual but as a community. “We will surely make it to the internationals if the love and support keeps coming at this pace,” said Chogo.

Some bands have even featured with international stars and musicians like Misty Terrace with his song Jarim featuring Akira Nair and Tenzin Paldon, miss Tibet.

The popular Bhutanese band Misty Terrace says their music has travelled out of Bhutan since 2017 where their biggest foreign fan is based in Sikkim, Arunachal and Ladakh and says that is always a nice feeling to go beyond Bhutan.

They have even sung in Singapore, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. “It is a signalling of a beautiful age where music and art can transcend beyond borders and culture and touch and bring people together.”

On the other hand, veteran band North H which was formed in 2014, a three-member grunge band who have gained popularity in the international stage advices the young artist to improve one’s skill and to not stop simply because they have become famous on social media.

North H also advises rising talents to not get carried away but to improve as an artist and musician and think of the next platform, which is to do live concerts and in global music festivals.

North H have worked with record label from Netherlands who gave them ideas to compose songs and invited them for tours in Nepal. Since then, they have toured in Nepal, India and even Thailand. “The stage setup, audience mindset and vibe are totally different from Bhutan.”

“Don’t get disheartened by the fact that there is lack of support, instead work hard towards improving your skill as an artist and one way or another, there will be people and organisation appreciating your works,” North H added.

For all the popular artist they said it was not easy for them to succeed in live concerts but had to take the hard way in order to reach such feats.

Today, many Bhutanese are of the view that such revolution in Bhutanese music is a good thing for both the country and for the artist as well.

Hence, the band members suggested the government and Bhutanese audience to support such initiatives and up bringing. “For those who need connection and financial support, government should be there.”

Music enthusiasts added that in order for music industry to grow in our country, one should be taught music from childhood and music curriculum should be introduced in school to generate ideas and for mental well-being of the students as well.

Most artist and musicians point out that a proper music concert should be organised, not just reality shows, so that young artist can display and improve their skills. They also share financial constraints are the biggest hurdles Bhutanese artists and musicians face.

Though such adversity exists, Bhutanese artist and musician are hopeful that the music industry in the country will improve overtime.

For now, few individuals and talented artist are breaking barriers and going beyond spreading Bhutanese culture and brand across the world shifting the paradigm of music scenario in the country for good.