Joenpa legso means “welcome”. This is a song performed in all special occasions and st the beginning of programs like this. It welcomes the guest of honor to enjoy the program to the fullest.
The dress the men wear is called the “GHO” and the shoes they wear is called the “TSHOLHAM”. The lower dress of the women is called the “KIRA” and the upper coat is called the “TEGO” and the inner sleeve is the “WONJU”.
This dance is of the Boedra genre, which is rhythm and is danced to the beat of the dramnye (guitar), and the yangchen(dulcimer). These are folk dances which are performed in all occasions and functions. “Boe” means “Tibet” and “Dra” means “like”. This genre originated in Tibet and was adapted here. The Bhutanese version evolved into a waltz form while the Tibetan version is more of a tap dance. This is the most popular traditional genre of music in
A notorious Wind God who rode a stag terrorized the people in the 8th century. Mythology says that the great saint Guru Rimpoche subdued this Wind God and rode his stag in victory. The effigy of this stag was discovered by another great saint Namkhai Nyingpo who created the stag dance in memory of the great victory of Guru Rimpoche over the Wind God which brought peace and prosperity to all sentient beings. This dance is performed in annual festivals (tshechus) all over the country.
The Zhungdra genre is the original form of singing in Bhutan. It has no rhythm or beat and is sung in slow and long melodies. Sadly, this genre is losing its popularity with the younger generation. We present this performance in a special form, where the women appear as the five angels from five directions - east, west, north, south and centre. The angels sing praises of all God and Demi-gods. Sacred and pure in its form, this genre appeals to the older generations and is performed in all formal and religious occasions.
In one form or another, all mask dances in Bhutan originated with the need to subdue evil. This particular drum dance, with the stick held on the right and the drum (ngaging) on the left was introduced by the great saint Rinzin Pema Lingpa in the 15th century, mainly to subdue the evil spirits which disturbed the Dharma paradise. This mask dance also appears in combination with other mask dances.
The black-necked crane which is an endangered bird species is considered a sacred bird in Bhutan. This bird spends its summers in Tibet and flies down to Bhutan to spend the winters at Phobjikha in the west and Bomdeling in the east. Numerous songs are composed in its praise because of its beauty and graceful dancing. This bird is also considered romantic and the most faithful of all animals. It is said that is one of the birds loses a partner; he/she will never court again until its dying day. So says the elders and so goes the folklore.
It is said that in the 15th century, the great “Treasure-discoverer” Tertoen Pema Lingpa paid a visit to the abode of the great saint Guru Padma Sambhava. There he saw the Guru surrounded by other saints in a large religious gathering. Part of the ceremony was the congregation of spiritual dances and performances in their thousands. The most important among them was the dance of the heroes (pawos) and the heroines (pamos). This is a dance performed in all annual festivals in Bhutan.
Laya is the northernmost village in Bhutan in the district of Gasa. There exists a different tribe of people with a unique way of dressing, especially their hat that the women wear. They are a nomadic tribe, depending on the products of their yak. They live high up at the foothills of snowy mountains amongst the beautiful rhododendrons and the edelweiss. The Layaps are by nature, music lovers. It is a usual sight to see little girls singing and dancing away the while day in Laya. RINGULA ZIDA is a song that talks about the special plants that grow in t he mountains and are used to make offerings to different Gods and Demi-gods.
Merak and Sakten is a region in Eastern Bhutan where a nomadic tribe lives. Like the Layaps they also depend on the yak for their livelihood. They are strong believers in the spiritual and this song called “Emo Chiley” is an appeasement song in honor of their Goddess called “Aum Jomo” who is considered to be their guardian deity. Aum Jumo in turn keeps away all evils from Merak-Sakten community.
“Tashi Laybey” is a concluding song/dance. During any celebrations, all the guests are invited to join the dance. The song wishes everybody the best of luck in the future; prays for times without sickness and misfortunes.