Guest Post and Music Video About Tibetan Nomads

High Peaks Pure Earth presents a guest post by Tenzin Choekyi. Tenzin Choekyi is an environmental science and policy graduate. She has previously worked as interpreter, translator for Restored Voice Project, a non-fiction book project about exiled Tibetan nuns. 

On July 7, 2017, when Hoh Xil was nominated as an UNESCO World Heritage Natural Site, I thought about Sonam Dargye, who was killed on his patrol by poachers in the same region on January 18, 1994.

What drove him into the harsh coldness of Hoh Xil in the first place to protect Tibetan antelope (tsö) from illegal poaching while the cameras were elsewhere? Was it only because he was the Party Secretary of the Western Working Commission of Driduo County?

If one is moved by the beauty of the Tibetan plateau, one might as well listen to the literature of Tibetans – beyond laws and lens. For their words echo the meanings translations cannot reach. For their poems let us interpret what is said and unsaid. For their language carries us into the history of the mountains, and the roots of the grass. For we must always remember, and never forget.

This is a song about nomads from Tibet.

 

“Nomads”

Lyrics: Minyakpa Norbu Wangyal
Composition: Tsenden Loma
Singers: Lhotse, Tsewang Lhamo, Pema, Samkho

(Translation by Tenzin Choekyi)

Studying the development of days and herds
Gathering the beauty of the nights’ constellations
Are the nomads of the plateau

Studying the development of days and herds
Gathering the beauty of the nights’ constellations
Are the owners of the plateau

In the depth of your mind is the luminosity of the sun, moon and stars
In your home are the values of the ancestral forefathers

Oh hear!

You are the first to uphold our plateau’s foundation
You are the last to uphold our plateau’s foundation
Ah…nomads

The smooth melody of the herder’s song
Bestowing blessings upon mountains, valleys and steppes
Are the nomads of the plateau

The smooth melody of the herder’s song
Bestowing blessings upon mountains, valleys and steppes
Are the owners of the plateau

From your speech rises the clear melody of ka kha gha nga
From your lives came the customs and traditions of the Snowland’s Tibetans

Oh hear!

You are the first to uphold our plateau’s foundation
You are the last to uphold our plateau’s foundation
Ah…nomads

Leaving footprints on the snow mountains at dawn
Guarding the days and nights on the Tibetan land
Are the nomads of the plateau

Leaving footprints on the snow mountains at dawn
Protecting the days and nights on the Tibetan land
Are the owners of the plateau

In the depth of your mind are the four seasons of the fatherland’s plateau
In your livelihood manifests the painting of the joys and sorrows of our brothers and sisters

Oh hear!

You are the first to uphold our plateau’s foundation
You are the last to uphold our plateau’s foundation

Ah…nomads
Ah…nomads
Ah…nomads

*ka kha gha nga are the first four letters of the Tibetan alphabet.

The music video is also available on YouTube here.