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Jigme Drukpa.jpg

Bhutanese acoustics in Norway

Last week, the music festival Førdefestivalen took place in Western Norway. Invited to the festival was Jigme Drukpa, Bhutan’s first and only ethno-musicologist. He travelled over 7000 kilometers to bring his music to the “Land of the midnight sun”, but his musical journey to Norway started over 20 years ago.

Jigme was born in 1969 in Wongchelo, a small village in eastern Bhutan. After graduating from Sherubtse College in 1993, he went to Norway where he studied folk music at Rauland Academy and ethno music at Grieg Academy, and returned as the country’s first ethno-musicologist in 1999. After many years in Norway, he speaks Norwegian well, and has been touring for several years with Kulturtanken (previously Rikskonserten). Drukpa has also been performing internationally in over 200 cities and has released the album Endless songs from Bhutan.

Drukpa is a famous and appreciated musician and pedagogue in his home country, and an ambassador for local folk music. He is a versatile musician who sings, dance and plays several types of instruments from Bhutan.

During Førdefestivalen, Jigme was an instructor at the music workshop for children, and the festival visitors could enjoy a concert at the spectacular viewpoint Gaularfjellet.

Førdefestivalen is Scandinavia’s largest festival of acoustic world music. About 300 artists from all over the world are presented on 30 stages during 100 different festival events. Every year, about 26.000 visits the festival, which is ranked among the top 25 festivals of its kind.

Gaularfjellet. Photo: Judith Maria Helle.