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Inheritor of Buddha-hall music of Labrang Monastery, Gansu Province

Publish Time: 2017-12-15 Author: Chen Man From: Kangba TV

Monks of Labrang Monastery, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu Province, play "Daode'er", a Buddha-hall music of Tibetan Buddhism. (Photo/ Ding Si)

With a pair of glasses, Trinley Gyatso, a 49-year-old eminent monk of Labrang Monastery, checks the scriptures of the music score in his dorm, to see whether they are correctly typed in computer.

The "Daode'er" music score of Labrang Monastery will finish its digitalization in a few months, and be published in Tibetan, Chinese and English.

"Daode'er" is an exclusive Buddha-hall music of Tibetan Buddhism of Labrang Monastery, the "world-class academy of Tibetology".

Boasting traditional characteristics of China’s ancient Tibetan religion, folk music and court music of the Qing Dynasty, it is a rare material for studying Tibetan history, folk customs, language, culture, music and art in Amdo area.

In 2008, "Daode'er" of Labrang Monastery was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage(ICH), and Trinley Gyatso became the national inheritor.

"'Daode'er' has been well inherited and preserved, with a rounded system," said Trinley Gyatso.

According to him, Labrang Monastery has selected monks from its six institutes to learn and inherit "Daode'er".

The band once had 70 members at most, and now has 26 in total, while the performance of "Daode'er" requires a standard number of 21 people.

As a special combination of Tibetan culture and Han culture, "Daode'er" gives full expression of the communication and integration of Tibetan and Han people. (Photo/ Ding Si)

According to Trinley Gyatso, "Daode'er" of Labrang Monastery was a gift to the 2nd Jamyang Living Buddha from the king of the then Mongolian government.

The music score and instruments were brought to Labrang Monastery in Gannan, and has been passed down for nearly 300 years.

Performing "Daode'er" needs six instruments, namely, nine-sound gong chime, sheng(a reed pipe wind instrument), pipe, bone flute, cymbal and side drum.

"Daode'er" is usually performed at the official activities of Jamyang Living Buddha, such as ascending the hall, sermon, banquet, etc.

In 1997, invited by Hong Kong Asia School of Music, "Daode'er" band gave a performance in France.

"Lots of overseas Chinese came to the concert from far away, and brought us fruits," said Trinley Gyatso.

It was the first overseas show of the band, with audiences swarmed in the performance site.

The performance won long-lasting applause.

Since then, "Daode'er" band has been invited to France, Britain, Belgium, America, Canada, Taiwan, Hongkong, Macau, etc. to perform the music.

As the local authority facilitates the protection and inheritance of ICH projects, "Daode'er" has maintained its digitalization.

The music score with scriptures will be published and explained in three languages, thus to make sure people who love and study Tibetan culture from all over the world can understand.

Then, the "Daode'er" music score of Labrang monastery will step out from the scripture hall and be shared with the world.


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