Editor’s note: Telluride and Tibet: two places linked by alliteration and mountain cultures. Tibet was recently celebrated through the work of photographer Phil Borges, whose penetrating portraits of the country were on display at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art during Mountainfilm in Telluride. Rigzin Dolma gives insights into her culture through her music.
Mountainfilm in Telluride: prayer flags, wondrous (and horrific) tales from far away lands, lots of old friends, too much coffee, all that has come and gone. What’s remains is a need for withdrawal and perhaps contemplation. There was a lot to take in.
A very special concert down the road a piece in Montrose might facilitate your exhale. Rigzin Dolma, the “singing angel” of Tibet performs at the Methodist Church on Park Street Friday, June 8, 7 p.m.
Rigzin is from the Amdo region in NE Tibet, the same area where HH the Dalai Lama was born. Being Tibetan, she grew up with song. I bet her mother sang her lullabies. I bet she joined her classmates singing centuries-old folk tunes and listened to the monks chanting on holy days. An adolescent Rigzin giggled with her girlfriends when they listened to their first pop songs.
CD stores seem to be the dream business in Tibet. They are everywhere. Big speakers on the sidewalks blast pop music all day long and people sing along, smiling as they do a few dance steps. Tibetans are so much into singing and dancing that at times they are ridiculed for their passion, portrayed as “dancing fools” in cheap TV productions.
When Rigzin released her first solo album “Holy White Yak” in 2009 it became an instant hit, garnering awards. She has been at the top of the charts ever since. In her native language she sings songs based on classic themes of pop singers around the world: love and heartbreak, loss and longing, but she also celebrates ideas specific to her cultural heritage.
For a taste of what to expect in Montrose, I recommend the recording of one of her songs featured at a concert at the University of Virginia very recently:
Rigzin’s concert is a family event. Well behaved children are most welcome. Admission is free. However, any and all donations will benefit rural school projects in Tibet.