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10 October 2009: Lobsang Wangyal Productions celebrated its 4th biannual Tibetan Music Awards ceremony at the Tibetan Institute for the Performing Arts (TIPA) in Mcleod Ganj on Saturday. The event, styled after the American Music Awards, awarded titles in 16 categories and featured several lively and diverse performances by Tibetan and international artists alike.

The event opened with a welcome speech from Music Awards host Lobsang Wangyal, followed by two stunning displays of traditional Tibetan music performed by Dorjee Tsering and Katherine, a cellist from Australia. Dorjee Tsering won the title of Best Traditional Artist later that night.

Wangyal, attired in a bold pink suit, called upon well-established members of the Tibetan musical community to present the various awards. The first, Best Album, went to TIPA for its 2009 collection "Yarkyi". The Gyalu Group, also from TIPA, later received the Best Song title for its hit "10 March".

Kelsang Chukie Tethong won the Best Spiritual or Devotional Album award for her compilation entitled, "A Woman's Spiritual Chants". Chukie gracefully accepted her trophy, stating in English, "I don't know if I deserve this award, but I am very grateful for the support". She then performed two chants for the audience: the first , "for the health of His Holiness the Dalai Lama"; and the second, requesting the fulfillment of "the wishes of the people from the Land of Snow". This older woman, dressed modestly in a traditional Tibetan chupa, sent chills around the room with her beautiful chanting.

Other key performers included Tenzin Doyla, a Tibetan pop singer whom Wangyal introduced as "one of the most dynamic singers in Tibetan society"; Mora Moynahan and Phil Void, two energetic American rockers who sang about Tibetan freedom; and Amalia, a New Yorker with immaculate Tibetan speech and an ornate costume, past recipient of the Best International Artist for Tibet title.

Many of the Tibetan award recipients were not present at the ceremony, because they either reside in Tibet or have relocated to the US, Western Europe, or elsewhere.

Despite the entertaining performances, the Music Awards drew a meager audience. The theatre began nearly empty, and gradually filled as the night went on. TIPA sold only 100 tickets for the event, in a theatre with the capacity to seat 500. When questioned about this low turnout, Wangyal told Phayul, "I don't know why, maybe because of too many events and shows going on here around this time."

"As I always say- the show must go on no matter what. After all it turned out to be a wonderful evening for those who made it," the event's host concluded.

It was indeed wonderful to witness this display of a vibrant Tibetan musical community, which continues to thrive in exile by mingling its traditional forms with the modern styles of American and other international artists.

2009 Tibetan Music Award List:

Best Male Singer: Sherten (Tibet)

Best Female Singer: Rigzin Palmo (US)

Best Album: TIPA for Yarkyi 2009 (India)

Best Lyrics: Lhamo Kyab (from Phurbu T Namgyal's album Jelyong) for Ser Rhi Le Nyima Shar Dao (France)

Best Song: 10 March for Gyalu Group TIPA (India)

Best opera singer: Tenzin Lhundup from Mundgod Lhamo group (India)

Best Traditional Artist: Dorjee Tsering (India)

Best Spiritual/Devotional Album: Kelsang Chukie Tethong for A Woman's Spiritual Chants (India)

Best Love Song: Techung for Yitok (US)

Best Fusion: Tenzin Choegyal for Dawey Wola (Australia)

Best Debut Album: Tsering Kalden for Bhumo Ngayi (Switzerland)

Best Lu Singer: Karjam Saeji (US)

Best Album Cover: Jamyang Yeshi for Shining Spirit (Canada)

Best Music Video: Namgyal Lhamo for Paradise Lost (The Netherlands)

Best International Artiste for Tibet: Chthonic Band for Free Tibet Concert in Taipei (Taiwan)

Lifetime Achievement Award: Wogen Chudon

List from: www.musictibet.com