First, congratulations to Au Kencho Wangdi for successfully running four seasons of Druk Super Star singing contests and discovering many national treasures. I wish him health, knowing he has all the other factors in himself, to continue entertaining the nation and bringing out the best in our youths.
Among the many singing talents he discovered, Bumchu Talozam has become a household name in the last many months. I have heard her name in towns and villages; I have seen people stop on the street and crowd over shop windows when she appeared on TV, and I have seen humble villagers spend their hard earned money in voting for her.
Her melodies from Talo charmed the nation and rejuvenated people’s love for Zhungdra, which was earlier only appealing to the elders. Zhungdra was disappearing because of its difficulty in singing, slow pace, philosophical lyrics, length, and it could only go well with one musical instrument, Dramney. Younger generation in our times found it hard to like, and had to be compelled into preserving it by making it a mandatory item on school stages.
But Bumchu Talozam suddenly made Zhungdra sound like a new genera and people started humming. History shall remember Kencho Wangdi and his treasure Talozam for the great Zhundgra Revolution.
Talking about history, it’s said that the reincarnations of Zhabdrung composed the songs Bumchu Talozam sang. Since 1705 four reincarnations of Zhabdrung lived in Talo; Zhabdrung Jigmi Drap, Zhabdrung Jigme Chogyel, Zhabdrung Jigme Norbu and Zhabdrung Jigme Dorji. I knew about this from a Bhutanese scholar who presented the 7th Colloquium on Culture and Environment on Talo Tshechu in March 2015 at Kichu Resort.
The songs, believed to be very holy, were heard widely by the older generations from Ap Dopay, who is also from Talo. But it’s said that the songs though exceptionally melodious never went beyond Talo. Ap Dopay, a natural singing star never taught these songs to his students from outside Talo. It’s believed that Ap Dopay respected the spiritual copyright, a Kasho issued by one of the Zhabdrungs, which apparently said that the songs and dances from Talo should not be reproduced by any person or community outside Talo.
Today, Bumchu Talozam won runners up prize and I am very happy for her. What she won from the show is far beyond any power tiller, she has spread the love and melodious history of Talo that was dying a natural death, and that too without breaking the Zhabdrung Code (After all she is from Talo and it’s her spiritual right). She has become a cultural ambassador. She is Kencho Wangdi’s gift to the Nation.
The writer is a teacher at the Bajothang Higher Secondary School