Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tashi Norbu

Source: Bhutan Observer, Pioneer in entertainment industry

21 March 2010

A recipient of a gold medal, a composer, singer, performer, and film director, Tashi Norbu, 50, is a pioneer in Bhutanese entertainment industry.

The Managing Director and owner of Tashi Nyencha Entertainment Company, Tashi Norbu started the entertainment group in 1987 with four people.

They composed traditional songs, tunes and redesigned a few traditional musical instruments. They released their first music album, Music from the Dragon Kingdom, in 1988.

In 1990, Tashi Nyencha produced a comedy film, Ap Wangdugay. It was shot using a handy cam with a budget of less than Nu 100,000. It was the first Bhutanese film to be screened in Lugar Theatre in Thimphu, in Phuentsholing and Samdrup Jongkhar.

Tashi Norbu was the director, cameraman, light man and makeup person for the film. He said the making of the film was difficult because the whole of it was set in a rural area.

Later, he produced Daw Butsu, a film on music, love and religion, and Gukor, an other comedy featuring Phur­pa Thinley.

Gradually, the number of members in the group started increasing, and in 1994, Tashi Nyencha started functioning as the first private entertainment firm.

They started performing live stage shows entertaining people with traditional, cultural and modern Bhutanese songs and dances.

In 1997, Tashi Norbu asked people from different regions in the country to teach local dances and songs to his group and started collecting costumes from the regions.

Today, he claims to have nine unique dances of Bhutan which no other entertainment company has and the rarest collection of dance costumes from across the country.

His hard work and dedication paid off in 2005 when he received a gold medal along with a cash prize of Nu 1.5 million at the 16th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes in Japan. The medal, made of platinum and gold, was awarded to him for being the first private citizen in the country to engage in preserving and maintaining traditional culture, primarily music.

Tashi Nyencha has produced around nine music al bums. The group performed in Japan, Hongkong, India and Thailand. Currently the group has 18 people.

Born and brought up in Thimphu, Tashi Norbu is originally from Kheng. He inherited the interest in music from his late father, Colonel Digala Dorji, more popularly known as Aku Tongmi, the composer of the national an­them of Bhutan.

Tashi Norbu was a talented singer and dancer since his school days in Kalimpong, India. While pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Shilliong, India, he got an offer to act in an Indian film but he declined the offer because he wanted to come back home and show his potential at home.

After coming back home, he played for the national football team as the goal keeper for two years before starting Tashi Nyencha.

Besides music, Tashi Norbu is also into collecting antiques. He has a rich collection of antiques in his home. Some of the antiques belonged to his father. He plans to open a small museum near the Zangtopelri in Vegetable Market to showcase the antique collection.

During his free time, Tashi Norbu engages himself in making decorative items like photo frames, flower holders and wall hangers.

By Tandin Pem

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