Performing arts are an important part of the culture of any place. Every region has a different type of music and dances. The local or folk dances are generally associated with the religion and history of the region. Lyrical themes mainly circle around gods, goddesses or other revered deities. Sometimes, locals may sing of ancient battles, which are important aspects of the history. Bhutanese performing arts are a good means of instilling good values in people. Being a spectator of the local music and dances during Bhutan holiday tours is an excellent way to understand and appreciate the culture and tradition of the kingdom. There are three distinct kinds of performing arts: religious, folk and popular, with instruments exclusive to them.
Music And Dance of Bhutan
Music and dance first flourished in the kingdom when it was united by Shabdrung Ngawang Nameable in the 17th century. Religious hymns is chanted and not sung, with their lyrics pertaining to namtars. The word refers to stories, which are about saints who attained complete enlightenment. Another lyrical theme is the biography of saints, and dances associated with them utilise unique masks and costumes. The most religious ones are performed in monasteries and are not meant for the general public. These songs are written in classical Tibetan language, known as Choke. Cham is the most revered religious genre in the performing arts. It began in the 8th century and is performed by Buddhists in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan and India. Moral values are transmitted through it and those to perceive it are said to be blessed. They are considered a form of meditation and an offering to god. Incidents from the life of Padmasambhava are the theme for their lyrics. A musician, keeping track of time with cymbals, usually heads the performance. When performed during the Tsechu festival, the performance provides enlightenment and is said to ward off evil spirits.
The folk music of Bhutan is derived from Drukpa, which refers to a particular branch of Tibetan Buddhism. Lamas and monks are credited with its invention, though the actual process is unknown. Its lyrics are written in Dzongkha or Choke languages. The former is the national language of the kingdom and is spoken by the Ngalop majority. Vocalists require rigorous training to master the singing style, facial gestures and vocal pitch. Accompanying dancers wear masks and costumes to portray demons, animals, gods and common folk. Zhungdra, Boedra, Zhey, Zhem, Tsangmo and Lozey are the various sub-genres of folk arts. Zhungdra songs are Buddhist allegories or sometimes, the singer tells of his past life. Boedra, unlike Zhungdra, has its root in Tibetan courts. Zhey is fast-paced, so only men perform it while Zhem is slow, which makes it suitable to be performed by women. Tsangmo consists of dual couplets, the first of which describes the scenario. The other is about feelings like love, hate or abuse. Lozey are replete with metaphor and conducted by everyone.
Popular music became prevalent in the kingdom in the 1960s and is known is Rigsar. The local television employs this style, the earliest examples of which were translated Hindi songs. Bhutan vacation tours can be modified to experience all of this, while people are in the country.