Ngawang Lodup - Archived
AAA Biog Dec 2015
Ngawang Lodup comes from long line of well-known folk singers from the Amdo region ofTibet– a beautiful but harsh environment high on the north-eastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau known for fine horses, wild grasslands and nomadic culture.
Ngawang learnt his unique repertoire of mountain songs from an early age, listening to his mother singing during the day as she carried him on her back while tending yak and sheep herds. Every evening his musical education would continue when his family sat & shared stories about noble Tibetan heroes defeating cruel warlords and sang songs in praise of the Snow Mountains, after which Ngawang’s brothers instructed him in the ancient art of the Dramnyen (Tibetan six-string lute) and taught him contemporary folk songs on the Mandolin.
In accordance with Tibetan tradition, Ngawang joined Amchock Tsenyi Monastery and became a Monk when he was 14 years old, studying the teachings of Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) Buddhism. He stayed at the Monastery for five years but left after growing increasingly disillusioned by the restrictions placed on Buddhist life by the Chinese authorities.
On his return to Amdo, Ngawang continued helping his family tend their livestock and began performing at local music festivals, however artistic censorship imposed on Tibetan musicians led him to question if there was a really any future for him in occupiedTibet.
Resolving to pursue a life where he could freely express himself, Ngawang trekked across the Himalayas for 18 days, journeying 250 miles with only the clothes on his back and basic provisions to get toNepalbefore finally settling in the UK in London, 2004. He has been performing across Europe for the past decade as a highly sought after singer amongst the Tibetan Diaspora in Europe, appearing in Belgium,Switzerland,Austria,Estonia and Ireland.
Ngawang remained unknown and under the radar in the wider world music scene for a decade until he uploaded some of his songs to the BBC’s Introducing World Music scheme, an initiative championing undiscovered music and musicians. Radio 3 subsequently first broadcast his music in April 2015 and after a live studio session for World on 3 he was invited to perform on the Radio 3 Charlie Gillett stage at the WOMAD Festival and featured in the pages of The Telegraph, Radio Times & The Independent in addition to features in Songlines and fRoots.
Interest in Ngawang’s courageous back-story led to a very special invitation to “open” for the Dalai Lama prior to a public talk at the O2 Arena in September 2015. Further live shows across the UKfollowed in the autumn along with a debut Cassingle of his composition Gratitude and a BBC Music short film entitled From Buddhist Monk to Rock Star.