Archiving a Collection of Oral Traditions from the Tibetan Plateau

Tibetan volunteers give a presentation during a cultural awareness training.

Music on the Tibetan Plateau is an art form that provides a transmission of oral history and culture.  However as the cultural gap widens between generations it has become crucial to assist the people of the Tibetan Plateau in remembering and archiving their cultural traditions.

In 2011, with support from The Bridge Fund and UNESCO, The Plateau Cultural Heritage Protection Group (PCHP) began a partnership with the World Oral Literature Project to archive its collection of oral traditions (primarily music) from the Tibetan Plateau.  The PCHP collects and records folk songs and dances in over 20 communities across the Plateau using Tibetan student volunteers.  The project also is utilizing UNESCO’s experience archiving traditional music and developing systems that allow for the great dissemination of these materials on the web.

We are very happy to announce that you can now access nineteen collections online! The collection contains nearly 400 audio and video files of oral traditions from across the Tibetan Plateau, including materials in Namuyi (Namzi), Mi Nyag, Lavrung, Naxi, and Pumi.  To our knowledge, this is the largest online archive of oral traditions from the region.

You can access the archives by clicking here.  Please check back in the future, as more collections will be added in the coming months!

Summaries of individual collections and links are also below:

A Tibetan woman listens to her recording.

Bkra shis bzang po: Oral Traditions from Mi nyag-Speaking Tibetan Villages of Nyag rong County
77 audio files feature weddings, wedding speeches, folktales, folk songs, riddles, tongue twisters, and local history from Bang smad and Ri sne Villages, Bang smad Township, Nyag rong County, Dkar mdzes Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China.

‘Brug mo rgyal: Dkyil ‘khor Tibetan Collection
A wedding song, three dancing songs, three modern folk songs, and eleven traditional folk songs recorded by ‘Brug mo rgyal in the Tibetan village of Zhongku Zhase, Wendu Township, Xunhua County, Qinghai Province, PR China.

Bsod nams rdun mtsho: Pa bru Village Collection
This collection contains seven dancing songs collected in Pa bru Village, Skar ma Township, Chab mdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, PR China in June 2007.

A volunteer working in the field.

Chen Sihua: Yulong Naxi Collection
This collection of Naxi music contains three chants, three folk songs, three funeral songs, two instrumentals, five love songs, two paeans, two weddings songs, two welcoming songs, and two working songs that were collected by Chen Sihua in various locations in Yulong County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, PR China.

Chos dbyang rdo rje: Zho ‘ong dbyis Village Collection
Three mani songs, three paeans, five love songs, and nine celebratory songs recorded by Chos dbyang rdo rje in the Tibetan village of Zho ‘ong dbyis, Zho ‘ong dbyis Township, Reb gong County, Rma lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Mtsho sngon Province, PR China.

G.yu lha: Oral Traditions of Siyuewu Village
Forty audio and nine video files covering a wide range of genres such as villagers’ life stories, circle-dance songs and performance, local history, folktales, and interviews. These were recorded from Siyuewu Village, Puxi Township, Rangtang County, Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, China.

The Finished Product!

Gcod pa don ‘grub: Dpon ru Village Collection
This collection contains one dancing song, one folk song, one mani song, and twelve paeans collected in Dpon ru Village, Zho ‘ong dpyis Township, Reb gong County, Rma lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, PR China by Gcod pa don ‘grub in August 2008.

Hu Qianma: Wangjiagou Pumi Collection
Forty-five audio files include numerous interviews and various genres of traditional songs recorded by Hu Qianma in the Pumi village of Wangjiagou, Jinmian Township, Ninglang County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province, PR China.
Hu Qianma recorded this collection between February 2008 – February 2011

Klu mo tshe ring: Dpa’ sde Village Tibetan Collection 
This collection contains two folk songs and one mani song collected in Dpa’ sde Village, Rdo sbis Township, Ya rdzi County, Haidong Region, Qinghai Province, PR China by Klu mo tshe ring.

Lha mo ‘tsho: Dkyil ‘khor Bar skor Village (A) Tibetan Collection
This collection contains four folk songs and sixteen love songs collected in Dkyil ‘khor Bar skor Village, Bis mdo Township, Ya rdzi County, Haidong Region, Qinghai Province, PR China by Lha mo ‘tsho in October 2007.

Lung rtogs dge ‘dzin: Baji Village Namuyi Collection
Five songs (two folk songs and three wedding songs) collected in Baji Village, Lianhe Township, Mianning County, Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, PR China. All songs are in Namuyi language.

Me lha: Ra skor Village Collection
This collection contains four folk songs collected in Ra skor Village, Khyung mchu Town, Khyung mchu County, Rnga ba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan Province, PR China by Me lha in February 2007.

Rdo rje rgyal: Dkar yol nang Village Collection
Nine paeans and one song of prayer song recorded by Rdo rje rgyal in the Tibetan village of Dkar yol nang Village, Khams ra Town, Gcan tsha County, Rma lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, PR China.

Sgrol dkar skyid: Sitaigou Village Tibetan Collection
One debating song, one milking song, one wedding song, and five folk songs recorded by Sgrol dkar skyid in the Tibetan village of Sitaigou, Tanshanling Town, Tianzhu Tibetan Autonomous County, Wuwei City, Gansu Province.

Sgrol ma lha skyid: Thar rgyas Village Tibetan Collection 
This collection contains two biographical songs, three dancing songs, three folk songs, one speech, seven weddings songs, and two welcoming songs collected in Tha rgyas Village, Rtsa zhol Township, Mol gro gung dkar County, Lhasa City, Tibet Autonomous Region, PR China in June 2007.

Sha bo don ‘grub rdo rje and Skald bang skyid: Ya ri a bsod Collection
This collection contains fourteen songs collected in the grasslands of Amdo (northeast Tibet) in the area where Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces meet. The songs represent various genres, and were all composed by Ya ri a bsod, an itinerant bard, in the early twentieth century.

Snying dkar skyid: Stag rig Oral Literature
Fifteen audio files, covering a variety of oral literature genres, collected in Stag rig Village in Khri ka County, Mtsho lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, China, in 2009.

Tshe ring bsam ’grub: Stong skor Village Tibetan Collection
Six folk songs recorded by Tshe ring bsam ‘grub in 2006 in Stong skor Village, Mgo mang Town, Mang ra County, Mtsho lho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province, PR China.

Zla ba sgrol ma: Oral Literature of the Sman shad Valley
The recordings are from the Sman shad Valley of Sde dge County, Dkar mzdes Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and were recorded October- November 2009. They include over forty audio files including several folk song genres, folktales, and local history.

Comment (2)

  1. Myra Holstan

    What wonderful work! Nobody else is doing this! Keep up the good work!

    Reply October 5, 2012 at 6:41 PM
  2. vivi

    You people are doing the world a great service. Long overdue . Thank you, Thank you and Thank you once more.

    Reply October 10, 2012 at 11:19 PM

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