Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bhutan Star

Bhutan Star is Bhutan's version of American Idol. It is a contest where contestants take to the stage to belt out the fading Bhutanese traditional songs. The immensely popular show was initiated by Nidup Dorji, a 37 year old writer, actor, composer and singer who wanted the youngsters to embrace their culture but with a modern twist.

He appropriated the format of "Idol," which he had seen on satellite TV. He then used Bhutan's pop genre known as rigsar to lure kids into watching the folk music called boedra and the more complex zhungdra, classical, high-pitched religious songs composed by Buddhist lamas and reminiscent of Chinese opera.

Conservative grandparents, Buddhist monks, rebellious teens and almost everyone else with a TV gather every Saturday and Sunday to watch contestants belt out classical Buddhist compositions. Jaded youngsters have started humming folk tunes in the street.

The contest, in its first edition was eventually won by Sonam Yangden from Trashigang who took home a Maruti Swift car and a year long music contract.

Each week, the contestants perform one rigsar song with a modern band on one side of the stage and one song of either boedra or zhungdra with a traditional band on the other playing the dramnyen lute, the yangchen dulcimer and the fiddle-like chiwang. There are two sets of judges as well


Alex Ted said...
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