Norway’s musical gift to Jigme Singye

Jigme Singye
Jigme Singye

Bhutan and the King Father Jigme Singye Wangchuk, who banned Christianity in Bhutan, received musical gift from the Norwegian artists on Easter eve.

About 70 Norwegian musicians, 64 choristers and the traditional folk musicians Sondre Bratland, Tone Huelbaekmo and Hans Frederik Jacobsen, preformed together with some of Bhutan’s best artists in Bhutan’s capital Thimpu as gift to Wangchuk on his 60th birthday. They were joined by musicians from Royal Academy of Performing Arts and the Aa-Yang Ensemble.

Norwegian conductor Per Oddvar Hildre and Jigme Drukpa, Bhutan’s first and only ethno-musicologist, made this extraordinary concert a reality.

Mr. Hildre has, through Kulturmix, been exceptional in creating cooperation between Norwegian and international musicians, finding new ground and making new music.

Inaugurating the concert, Minister of Home and Cultural Affairs, Damcho Dorji, remembered half a century long diplomatic relations between Norway and Bhutan.

In 1956, Dr. Busch Haugstad from Norway built a hospital at Parkijuli in India, close to the Bhutanese boarder, for the Santal Mission of the Northern Churches.

The minister said that from day one, the hospital saw a number of patients from Bhutan, especially those afflicted with leprosy and tuberculosis. Dr. Busch Haugstad built the Riserboo Hospital in eastern Bhutan in 1967.

“Music knows no national borders. It may convey what is unique for different cultures and people, as well as what we have in common. Music brings joy to our lives,” said the Norwegian Ambassador to Bhutan, Mr. Eivind S Homme in his opening address at the concert.

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