Listening


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You will hear a report about the movie "Tibet in song" by Director Ngawang Choephel.

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Tapescript

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Our subjects this week are movies. First, we discuss a movie made by Tibetan film maker Ngawang Choephel called “Tibet in Song.” It tells about his efforts to help protect traditional Tibetan music and better understand his own culture and homeland. We also learn about an online short-film festival celebrating women and the Muslim world.

STEVE EMBER:  “Tibet in Song” is a celebration of traditional Tibetan folk music. It also explores resistance against cultural repression. The movie gives a clear picture of how China has worked to repress cultural freedom inside Tibet over the past fifty years.

Director Ngawang Choephel was two years old when he and his mother fled Chinese-ruled Tibet in nineteen sixty-eight. He grew up in a refugee camp in India. In the camp he heard traditional Tibetan songs from older refugees.

SHIRLEY GRIFFITH:  Like other folk music traditions, these Tibetan songs are about everyday life. They deal with subjects including family, social events, love and nature.

NGAWANG CHOEPHEL: “Tibetan folk music originated directly from ordinary Tibetan people’s mind. It’s a very pure form of, you know, oral tradition, of our Tibetan people’s history, knowledge and beliefs.”

In nineteen ninety-three, Mr. Choephel graduated from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamsala, India.  Then he received a Fulbright scholarship to study musicology and filmmaking at Middlebury College in the American state of Vermont.

He noticed that the school’s music library had traditional music from all over the world. But it only had one recording of Tibetan music.

He decided to collect Tibetan folk songs himself. In nineteen ninety-five he traveled to Tibet. He visited rural areas and filmed people singing folk songs. After two months, he was arrested by Chinese officials....


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