Interview with singer Tsewang Lhamo

Interview with singer Tsewang Lhamo

Interview with singer Tsewang Lhamo


Tsewang Lhamo has rapidly become one of the leading singers in the Tibetan music world. She is very popular both inside and outside Tibet. Her first album “Nikchuk circle dance” was a hit with Tibetan audiences. Last year, she came to the US to perform at a concert organized by Trace Foundation in conjunction with the International Conference on Tibetan Language, and received a joyous welcome from Tibetans in NYC who were able to see her for the first time. We translated this interview excerpt from Sangdor website.

I don’t have a great voice but fate has given me music, lyrics and a voice. This, and only this, has given me the reputation of a singer. There are many people inside and out side the country who appreciate my songs and my singing. I would like to thank other music composers, singers and artists.

This year I went abroad and I met many educated Tibetan women. Meeting them made me very happy. It made me also realize that there are many things I need to learn. Compared to the past, in my homeland, there are definitely more people who want to send their children to school. I think this is because Lamas have been advising that children should be sent to school and also because singers have been talking about the virtue of schooling. I am really happy to see that there is a result.

Sometime ago, I took a taxi from Xining. The taxi driver said he was unhappy today and I asked him why. He said that he drove some Tibetans somewhere and when they got off the car, they refused to pay. When he insisted that they should pay, they were saying that they didn’t have the money and said he could drive them back to the place where he had picked them up. So they left without paying him. I told the driver that he can’t say that about all Tibetans, I am also a Tibetan. There are bad Tibetans and also bad Chinese. Just because there are some bad people, you cannot say that everyone is bad. I don’t know what the old Chinese man thought.

Generally, my home region doesn’t support my singing. If there are new singers, I think people should support them and honor each other if you are from the same region. In the lyrics of one of my songs, I praise Drago Dzong (brag ‘go) but I am not allowed to sing that song. If you had the support of the Dzong, then you would not face this kind of difficulty.

Q: From my point of view, your songs from last year and your songs from this year have changed in every aspect. Many people are saying that the change is for the better. What do you think?
A: I also think there is a small change. I have many years of experience now with singing, and I have studied in music school for nearly four years and am about to finish my university degree. These various factors have made me much better.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: I have many shortcomings; therefore I would like to continue my education. At the moment I am searching for other schools to study in.

Q: What about composing and singing?
A: I am composing some songs. This year I also wrote the lyrics to some songs.

Q: As a singer, is there a particular way you look after your voice and health? Do you seek advice from doctors?
A: I don’t do anything special. I lead a normal life. I don’t compare myself to the big name singers. Since I was young, I was especially fond of song and dance like my brothers at home. Since the age of fifteen I have been called a singer and I have been singing for seven years, but I am still the same.

Q: You are now one of the big name singers. I hope and believe that you will become an even bigger name. Do you think that in the future our hometown should nurture singers?
A: Yes, I think this will happen. At the present I am not really able to do that. For example, I can myself hope for better teachers, but I don’t have the ability to teach or guide others. However when I am one of the established singers, we can start classes. I can help in small ways. At the present, I am a student and if I am successful, I hope to help the younger generation.

Q: You are fond of giving praise, providing advice and affection in your lyrics, and your songs are in a Tibetan style and easily learned by anyone.
A: It is my wish for the Tibetan people to get some inspirations from my songs. I like the contents of my lyrics which indeed allows me to sing patiently and sweetly. I do hope that my songs are educational and informational.

Q, Our conversation will be written down and posted on the Internet. As it will be read by aspiring singers, can you please tell me who you think they should learn from?
A: Whether you are a Tibetan or any other person, you need a good voice. However, everyone is quite poorly trained. Young singers should choose their direction. I have nothing to say.

Q: You have said that you like singing educational songs. Have you sung songs about the preservation of environment and culture?
A: There are several songs about this. I have more to offer in the future. I always hope to learn more. There are a number of lyricists who have written songs for me and I will be singing these. I want to thank those people who have advised and helped me during my singing career.

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