The first-ever Tibetan music awards 2003

The winners are:

  1. Best Love Song: Thupten Samdup (Montreal, Canada) for Zepay Rinzin Wangmo (A song from the first album released by TIPA in 1979)
  2. Best Album: Rangzen Shonu (Album released in 198.)
  3. Best New Traditional Song: Techung (California, US) for Losar
  4. Best Composition: Yadong (Kham, Tibet) for Nga Chi la Thon yong
  5. Best Lyrics: Aku Pema (Amdo, Tibet)
  6. Best Fusion: Yadong (Kham, Tibet) for Khyam po
  7. Best Opera Singer: Sonam Phuntsok (TIPA, Dharamsala, India)
  8. Best Act from Tibet-in-exile: Ngawang Choephel (New York, US)
  9. Best Act from Tibet: Karma Tendhar (Lhasa, Tibet)
  10. Best Female Singer: Pasang Dolma (TIPA, Dharamsala, India)
  11. Best Male Singer: Yadong (Kham, Tibet)
  12. Life Time Achievement Award: Norbu Tsering (TIPA, Dharamsala, India), Retired opera master
  13. Free Spirit Award: An award created in 2003 to honour and show appreciation for the works of artistes and supporters of Tibet working for the cause of Tibetan people. The first award was presented to Richard Gere for his relentless and unmatched contributions towards the cause of Tibetan people, world peace, environmental issues and campaign against the spread of AIDS.

~ The Event ~

The nominations had been voted upon by the public from the 11th through the 20th of June 2003 online on this web site. The non-internet users were intended to vote through the Tibet Times newspaper of the 10 June 2003 issue but, not a single legitimate vote was cast. However, we received an overwhelming number of votes from the online voting.

Five artistes with the highest votes from each category were presented to a grand jury, who decided the winners. The jury consisted of: Dhumkhang Phuntshog Namgyal, a veteran Tibetan musician; Tsering Dolkar Yuthok, a Tibet-born elder with strong ties to traditional Tibetan music and culture; and Tsering Wangchuk, a Tibet-born journalist and now head of the audio and visual section of Tibetan government-in-exile.

Music albums and soundtracks were the basis on which the public voted.

All the winners received a unique, bronze cast trophy, specially designed by Pekar, symbolising Lhamo Yangchen ma (the Saraswati).

Click here to know the nominees.

The Finale Night

The First-ever Tibetan Music Awards concluded successfully on the 10 October 2003 at TIPA, Dharamsala. Loten Namling, Singer and political Cartoonist from Switzerland; and, Sheri Winkelmann, a theatre artiste from the US compered the event.

The night began with the lighting of the Free Spirit torches by Opera Master Norbu Tsering and Ngawang Samdup, a dedicated member of Free Spirit Festival Team. A few moments of fire works enhanced the beauty of the near-full moon. All the artistes who participated in the event presented a song in praise of Lhamo Yangchen ma. The lyrics was composed by the 17th Karmapa and the score was composed by Jamyang Choeden, now living in U.S.A.

The Director of the event, Lobsang Wangyal, gave the Free Spirit Speech, introduced the event and talked about other aspects of music such as: freedom for artistes to perform, need of community's support for artistes, fight against pirated tapes and CDs, etc.

Later all the artistes, who participated in the event were introduced. All the participants got together in Dharamsala on 6 October 2003. The rehearsals began from the 7th. The artistes were:

  • Dorjee Tsering, music teacher from Rajpur, India
  • Gonpo Dhondup from TIPA, Dharamsala
  • Gonpo Kyab from Aku Pema group in Dharamsala
  • Jamyang Yeshi from Aku Pema group in Dharamsala
  • Lhamo Dolma, Dharamsala
  • Loten Namling from Switzerland
  • Namgyal Choeyang, the Tamsang Singer from Bylakuppe
  • Pasang Dolma from TIPA, who won the Best Female Singer
  • Penpa Tsering, known for Bhumo Gyakpa, from Mussoorie
  • Phuntsok 59 of album 1959 from Nepal
  • Rinzin Palmo from Dharamsala
  • Tenzin Choegyal of Yeshi Norbu fame from Nepal
  • Tenzin Woser from Nepal of Tsam Tsam fame
  • Tenzin Dhundup from Nepal
  • Yangchen from Aku Pema group in Dharamsala

Gonpo Dhondup from TIPA sang a song representing all the male singers in Tibet, and Rinzin Palmo sang a song representing all the female singers in Tibet.

The Best Love Song award was introduced as the night's first award. The winner Thupten Samdup did the honour of receiving the award himself and also sang the winning song: Zepay Rinzin Wangmo, astounding the audience with his voice that was still as melodious as ever!

After the presentation of an award, one of the participants sang a song. Before the conclusion of the event, the participants chanted the "The Words of Truth" composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Director presented each participant with a certificate for their participation in the historical event before a Sangsol (a ceremonial prayer ritual hailing victory to the gods) was held.

Matteo Silva Cappelletti, President of Amiata Records (, was the chief guest of the event. Amiata Records, an international record label based in Florence, Italy, and New York, has awareness and understanding of Tibet, its culture and especially young Tibetans. The company will produce a compilation album of the winners' songs and distribute it worldwide. The company will also produce an album of songs of Pasang Dolma, an artiste from TIPA.

Amiata Records donated 2500 USD for the event. The
company will also co-sponsor an edition of Free Spirit
Festival in Florence in Italy!