A Song by Dolma Kyap: “Gangchenpa”

High Peaks Pure Earth felt inspired after the “RESPECT” rap video to translate “Gangchenpa” by Dolma Kyap, the contemporary classic song that was sampled on the RESPECT track.

Dolma Kyap is a very popular and well-respected singer from Amdo, known for his strong voice and integrity. He has become so renowned for this song that he is popularly known as “Gangchenpa Dolma Kyap” (not to be confused with imprisoned writer and teacher, Dolma Kyab). This recording of a different performance of “Gangchenpa” has been viewed over 15,000 times on YouTube and the VCDs of the Rebkong 2006 performance are extremely popular and are viewed all over Tibet.

Below is our description of Gangchenpa taken from our introduction to RESPECT:

Interestingly, “RESPECT” samples a popular and culturally iconic Tibetan song called “Gangchenpa” by Dolma Kyap from 2006 that would be instantly recognised by any Tibetan listener, the chorus of “RESPECT” is directly lifted from “Gangchenpa” and the last line of the chorus is even sung in the original Tibetan. Literally translated, “Gangchen” means Land of Snows and a “Gangchenpa” is a person from the land of snows. In the rap, Tibet is also referred to as “Kawachen”, another way to say “Land of Snows”. In Tibetan songs, particularly from around that time, Tibet was rarely mentioned by name, see this example in our earlier commentary and translation of the 2006 song “Mentally Return”.

This music video of “Gangchenpa” is taken from a recording of a large-scale outdoor show staged by many Tibetan artists, including Dolma Kyap, that took place in Rebkong in July 2006, the same show was where “Mentally Return” was also performed. The song takes its time and slowly builds up to a crescendo, Dolma Kyap working the crowd up into a frenzy! Particularly emotional are the excited shouts from the crowd of “Gangchenpa!” right at the end of the video.

This is the fifteenth weekly music video translated by High Peaks Pure Earth since the song series started in November 2012. There will be no music video next week but check back on March 13 for another powerful song from Tibet and be sure to also go back and watch our other videos using this link: http://highpeakspureearth.com/category/music-from-tibet/

Below are the subtitled music video and translated lyrics of “Gangchenpa” by Dolma Kyap:

“Gangchenpa” By Dolma Kyap from HPeaks on Vimeo.

“Gangchenpa”
By Dolma Kyap

Lyrics by Chone Yumtsering
Composed by Chang Zhangtung

In the eastern part of the world
Trodden underfoot, a compassionate people
By reaching the sky over the snow mountains
Practise the search for happiness
In the plains of samsara
One’s own life is carried away by sandy winds though
All sentient beings
Firmly hold onto the realisation that
The lama remembers them in the depth of his heart

Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
To whom I voice my joy when I am happy
And to whom I sing mournful songs when I am sad
Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
To whom I voice my joy when I am happy
And to whom I sing mournful songs when I am sad

Riding on the horns of wild yaks
A ruddy-faced people
On the banks of the Yarlung river
Turned the hooves of their horses
And rode to all four directions
The three provinces
Their years of joy and sorrow
Are written on the face of Ama
Our forefathers
Their sweet songs will echo
Forever in the blue sky

Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
To whom I voice my joy when I am happy
And to whom I sing mournful songs when I am sad
Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
To whom I voice my joy when I am happy
And to whom I sing mournful songs when I am sad

Gangchenpa!
Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
Oh, these descendants of great Kings
Are my Tibetans of the Snowland
Gangchenpa!
Gangchenpa!

[Translation by High Peaks Pure Earth]

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

5 Comments

  • His presence and his spiritual energy are just dazzling. I am moved to tears and the hair on my neck stands up listening to the voice of this brilliant and charismatic artist. I’m really amazed that the Chinese haven’t thrown him in prison after a performance like this. Tashi delek!

  • His songs and lyrics are some of the best ones coming out of Tibet. I am always inspired