|Home | Artistes | Awards | Concerts | Contact | Gallery | New Releases | News | Resources|
Ama Dechung, ageless singer
At age 81 Ama Dachung (Dawa Chung) still performs Lhamo (plays) and sings namthar (opera) to everyone's joy. She is more a born than a trained artiste. Her career as an artiste spanned the period from her childhood in Tibet before the Chinese occupation of the country, to a woman performing before the Dalai Lama. She never had formal training nor any particular teacher, but mastered on her own the art of singing and performing from her inborn talent with her keen interest in music.
A living legend and an inspiration for all the young ones, Ama Dachung, was born in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, in April 1924 in the Wood Rat Year of the Tibetan lunar calendar.
As her interest grew, she started imitating popular artistes, particularly Ghen Tashi la, one of the most popular singers and performers at that time. Her Lhamo style is that of Kyumulunga. But she also knows a bit of Gyangkara; the two of the 12 major Lhamo groups in Tibet.
In Tibet she never had much chance to perform except in villages or within a small audience. Women never had the chance to perform in any event before the highest and the top brass audiences in Tibet , such as during the Shoton festival at the Dalai Lama's summer palace, the Norbulingka and other performances at the winter palace, the Potala. But Ama Dachung recalls that once she performed for five days substituting for Norbu Tsering, who used to perform female roles, at Sera Chapshu festival when the monks have a two-week holiday. Norbu Tsering is the current Lhamo master at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Mcleod Ganj.
The tradition of no women performances in big events has changed since coming in to exile. Today, Ama Dachung has performed many times all over India, including many a time before the Dalai Lama. Every show was the best show for her. She never had a show that she felt wasn't good. For a person who had been playing a lead role in any play, perhaps this is not an understatement.
Since coming into exile, and moving to Bylakuppe Tibetan refugee settlement in South India in the 1970s, she had become one of the founding members of the Bylakuppe Lhamo Group. Today there are 30 and growing members in the group that performs every year during Losar, the Tibetan New Year.
Lhamo is as much a religion for Ama Dachung as it is an important component of Tibetan culture for her. She says that Lhamo plays are based on Buddhist philosophy, which preaches love, peace and compassion. And hence its performance has great value not only in entertaining but in educating the masses as well.
She has strong hopes for the continuation of Lhamo, as the awareness of the Tibetan youths is improving. She feels that there will be no end to Lhamo. At age 81 Ama Dachung (Dawa Chung) still performs Lhamo (plays) and sings namthar (opera) to everyone's joy.
All rights reserved. Copyright © 2003 – 2013 Lobsang Wangyal Productions
Hosted at RailsPlayground