If you have been to Bhutan and have visited any monastic festival, then you must have heard the traditional music here. The folk music is often accompanied by dance and rituals enacted during Tsechus with men and women dressed in colorful robes and artistic masks, intrinsic to Buddhist culture.
Folk music can be dived into Boedra , Zhungdra and Zhey and Zhem. The Boedra folk music which has its origin in the Tibetan courts using the chiwang (fiddle), dramyin (flute).
It is sung in circles and is popular as village folk songs now. The Zhungdra came into existence in the 17th century and is still practiced in Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and Ngalop. It is especially known for its complex patterns and is challenging even for the trained singers. The Zhey and Zhem are performed by men and women respectively and are accompanied by elaborate choreography. These are the songs sung during occasions and festivals.
Another popular form of music here is the Tsangmo, which is sung in couplets as a musical exchange of call and response to it. It usually consists of 4 lines with two couplets.
Modern music of Bhutan is comprised of the Rigsar and the B-Pop. The Rigsar as a genre appeared first in the 1960s which was the blending of the traditional music created using electronic instruments. It was only in the 1980s that Rigsar became a fusion of Western, Nepalese and Indian music and is the most popular form of music among the youngsters. The music and songs are mostly romatic ballads. The most recent addition to the music scene in Bhutan is the B-pop genre of music which was invented by M-Studio, a local music studio in Thimphu.
It is a contemporary form of music taking inspiration from the world but having a Bhutanese essence at its core. Bhutan has also been seeing a boom in this genre. In May 2018, M-Studio in collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Communications held a B-pop music show after recording 130 songs and became an instant hit.
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