“When the wind hits the glacier, there is a whistling sound... shrrrrrrr... that's also music.
And when the water flows, everyone says that the waterfall has a sound... thol thol thol thol thol thol...
When it snows a lot and we pass through the snow, we have to stay totally silent. If someone makes a noise, the snow goes... dhrrr... and causes an avalanche through the vibration.”

 SINGING ICE /  Folk Songs about Mountains & Glaciers
Scroll for a conversation with singer and song collector Morup Namgyal

In Leh, Ladakh we met with Morup Namgyal, a well-known folk singer whose music practice has contributed to the revival of Ladakhi and Tibetan cultural traditions. Also known as the “Song Collector” Mr. Namgyal has been saving and singing traditional folk songs that reflect the changing environmental conditions of its mountains and its peoples. 

After spending the day with Mr. Namgyal and listening to his stories and songs, he opened up his files to us—a handwritten archive of songs now long forgotten that are stored only in his memory and on faded scraps of paper gathered while travelling throughout Ladakh in the 1960s; disappearing into history like the glaciers he sings about in his souful words of mourning and loss.

Morup Namgyal is one of the founders of Lamdon Social Welfare Society and Lamdon School, a not-for-profit institution promoting the cultural heritage of Ladakh and  is a member of the advisory board of the LAMO.  The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2004, for his contributions to Indian music.


Watch the SONG COLLECTOR, a film by Erick Kyoto, 2016, trailer

Conversation with Morup Namgyal recorded in his home 7 October 2021. HD video.