“Victory to Tibet” and “What we Have is Suffering”: Two Songs by Gebey

This Wednesday, following on from our previous music videos by Dawoe and Choegon, High Peaks Pure Earth has translated two songs by a Tibetan singer from Ngaba, Amdo, called Gebey. Earlier this year, Gebey released a CD of 11 songs, all of which contain very powerful political messages. All 11 songs and music videos can be viewed on this playlist on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHCOUgs0dhQ&feature=share&list=PLDiu0Q6WUAwLxYLfOkDk_0g72GORSqA5c

The first song by Gebey, “Victory to Tibet”, was uploaded on a Chinese video-hosting site Youku over a month ago. This song indicates the wish of victory for the Dalai Lama and for the Tibetan people, the pain of the separation of Tibetans for many years is reflected in the song. Gebey also shows the strong desire for the reunion of Tibetans inside and outside Tibet, continuing the messages of Tibetan unity expressed in the past by singers such as Sherten and Lhakyi.

 

“Victory to Tibet” By Gebey from HPeaks on Vimeo.

“Victory to Tibet” By Gebey

Victory to the Gods!
Victory to Tibet!

Today, victory to the Dalai Lama!
Today, victory to the fine leader of Tibet!
Today, victory to the coming of happiness!
Today, victory to the Dalai Lama!
Today, victory to the fine leader of Tibet!
Today, victory to the coming of happiness!

Victory to the Gods!
Victory to Tibet!
Today, victory to the six million!
Today, victory to Tibet, the source of knowledge!
Today, victory to Tibetans of the Snowland!

Victory to the Gods!
Victory to Tibet!
Today, victory to our great kinsmen!
Today, victory to Tibetans around the world!
Today, victory to the children of the Snowland!
Today, victory to the six million!
Today, victory to Tibet, the source of knowledge!
Today, victory to Tibetans of the Snowland!

Victory to the Gods!
Victory to Tibet!
Today, victory to an auspicious day!
Today, wish-fulfilling day, victory to Tibet!
For the reunification of Tibetans, home and abroad, victory to us!
For the reunification of Tibetans, home and abroad, victory to us!

[Translation by High Peaks Pure Earth]

The second song by Gebey, “What We Have is Suffering”, has a mournful melody and powerful lyrics. Gebey sings in the style of Tibetan music known as “Dunglen”, which the Tibetan scholar Lama Jabb describes as “one of the most potent artistic modes of communication in contemporary Tibet. The name means “strumming and singing” and it is performed with the musical accompaniment of a traditional Tibetan guitar or mandolin.” For those interested in Tibetan music and identity, the full paper by Lama Jabb can be found online (in PDF form) here: http://himalaya.socanth.cam.ac.uk/collections/journals/ret/pdf/ret_21_01.pdf

As this June 2008 article from the LA Times that discusses “Dunglen” tells us, “The songs are slow, sad, hypnotic and invariably about lost love or some tragedy.” Gebey’s melodies are very effective expression of the meanings of the songs. In this song, Gebey educates and creates awareness of important events in Tibet’s recent history such as the escape of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan self-immolations, and Tibetans killed in Lhasa from the 1950s onwards, as he indicates by singing about “stolen souls.” There are many allusions to the Dalai Lama, either as a person, a leader or King, father or Lama, or with places such as the turquoise lake, which is the lake where the search for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas starts. Although the song is a sad song, it ends on a  positive note by saying that the Dalai Lama is residing in the southern part of the world, India.

“What We Have is Suffering” By Gebey from HPeaks on Vimeo.

“What We Have is Suffering” By Gebey

In the centre of rosary-like snowy mountains
There is the father’s palace for Tibetans from Tibet’s three provinces
There is the father’s palace

Surrounding the red and white palace
There are countless stolen souls
On the snow-capped high plateau
There is the compassionate father’s lake
There is the lake

Surruonding the turquoise lake
There is the legend of bodies set alight
From the height of Lhasa’s Potala Palace
There is a history of banishment of the King
There is a history

Along the high valley of beautiful crystal mountains
There are footprints left from a journey to another land
In the southern part of the world
Dwells the protector of six million Tibetans
Dwells the protector

The smiling face of the protector Lama
We have the suffering of many years
Not being able to see you

The smiling face of the protector Lama
We have the suffering of many years
Not being able to see you

We have the suffering of many years
Not being able to see you

[Translation by High Peaks Pure Earth]

Finally, for those unable to view the videos on Vimeo, there is also a High Peaks Pure Earth YouTube channel here with our music videos: http://www.youtube.com/highpeakspureearth

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2 Comments

  • What a voice and more each words give goose bumps if you are Tibetan. Thank you HPPE and hope our singer remains safe to sing more of our heart and soul. Bod Gyalo!