Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yak Legpai Lhadhar Gawo

Soe Jangothang, a small village near the foot of magnificent Mt. Jomolhari became the village for Chuni Dorji in 1922. Like most of his fellow citizens of his time, he never had the opportunity to enroll in formal school. He was everything but educated, yet he excelled in playing with words. He spent his whole life herding yaks, singing songs and dueling lozays. According to Kuensel (December 29, 2003), he became the singer and composer for His Late Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk till His Majesty’s Death.
Ap Chuni happened to compose one of the most beautiful songs from Bhutan: Yak Legbi Lhadhar. The combination of the melody and the emotional story it narrates has the capacity to bring tears to everyone who listens to it. The lyrics of the song is as follows:

Soo yak legbi lhadhar zshel legsa
Yak legbi lhadhar lhachu dhi

Soo yak kayyul droyuel shedming go
Yak kayyuel droyuel shed go na

Soo thow gangri karpoi zshaylu lay
Pang sersho khagyel thosa lu

Soo ya metho baabchu legsa mo
Yak rang gi phayul dhiley inn

Soo tsa zawa ganglay zengo za
Chhu thungma ngomchhu tsholay thung

Soo na thruelni lhadhar nga thruel way
Nga laywang che gyi lhadar mo

A rough translation of the lyrics is given below:

Ohh, handsome Yak lhadhar with a beautiful face
Yak lhadhar is like a God's son.

Ohh, You dont have to know about the home of yak Lhadhar
But, if you have to know about Lhadhar's home.

Ohh, Lhadhar's home is near the magnificant white mountains
Where the yellow meadows covers the landscape.

Ohh, a place where the flowers adorns the landscape
That is the place which Lhadhar calls home.

Ohh, I have been eating the green grasses of the highlands
I have been drinking water from the pounds and lakes.

Ohh, it's I, Lhadhar who feels sad
Its I, Lhadhar who has no luck.

[Note: This translation is done by me, so quite a huge amount of messsage is lost in translation. ]

The video above have a clip of Ap Chuni singing the song he composed years ago.

It describes the feelings of a yak, Lhadhar, who was slaughtered for a ritual in Laya. It begins by describing how handsome and wonderful is yak Lhadhar. Then it describes the beautiful environment in which Lhadhar grew into a adult yak along other yaks. But suddenly, all the joys of his life comes to an end when his owner receives an order from a powerful local lord to give Lhadhar for slaughter.The lyrics produced above is what is popularly sung nowadays. The actual song was said to run for more than an hour.

Late Soe Gup Limchu was said to have popularized this song among the mainstream bhutanese people and even today, most people mistake him as the composer. The song is played in the country on radio stations regularly and it made a debut on International scene when it was adopted for Travellers and Magician's soundtrack.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just trekked through Soe and wanted to find some traditional music from Bhutan. Your blog and vid links brought back some nice memories for me. thank you