Songs of Bhutan
Songs are popular in Bhutan and people of all walks of life sing and dance at all occasions be it during household rituals, festivals or while attending tshechus. The songs sung or sung and danced in Bhutan can be classified into nine categories. The examples given in the songs with dance and songs without dance will also fall in the nine categories which are the following:
1. Chhoe Glu and Gurma
The religious songs of the folk tradition must be distinguished from those called gurma. Gurma are those taken from religious texts such as the songs of the great saint Milarepa. Similarly, chhoe glu also has some religious themes, or it honours great lamas or religious figures.
2. Lama Chhoe Tod Gi Glu
These are songs composed in praise of lamas, monasteries and sacred places. These songs are still composed nowadays and are still popular. Such songs accompany consecration of monasteries and temples and are performed during religious congregation.
3. Gyal Poi Tod Glu
These songs are sung in honour of Kings and of great personalities. The themes often revolve round the Kings and their dynasties, their contribution to the country and the development activities initiated and of the great welfare enjoyed by the society. Such songs are still composed and sung on occasions like marking the birth anniversaries and to celebrate the National Day.
4. Ga Glu
Most congregational gatherings are auspicious and marks joyous and festive occasion in the life of an individual, a family, a society or for a country. Singing and dancing songs of happiness mark such occasions.
5. Dza Glu
Love songs are very popular in Bhutan and the themes of most of the rigsar songs are about love and befriending girls. The nature in all its grandeur is compared to the girl’s beauty. These songs are sung mostly in public or formal occasions and for general amusement.
6. Thrul Glu
The songs of emotions are not sung during formal occasions but may be sung to an individual. These songs are not as popular as the love songs are.
7. Pa Nyam Gi Glu
Heroic songs are popular songs that recount the live and brave deeds of culture heroes and heroines. In olden days family elders sang these songs to their children to encourage bravery and fearlessness and to revive the glorious past. The majority of such songs were taken from the Gesar epic, and others sung in praise of Kings.
8. Bag Ton Gi Glu
Marriage traditions are observed by all section of the Bhutanese population. The day is of great significance for the bride and the bridegroom and of the family members. It is a day of great enjoyment and marriage songs form an indispensable part of the occasion.
9. Trashi Mon Glu
These songs of good wishes are sung in every festive occasion and for all social or cultural event of importance. Trashi Lebay song usually ends the occasion where everyone joins the dance. The lyrics stress on the peace and harmony, prosperity and affluence, longevity and of all a promising future for the entire gathering.