In Conversation with Jigmet Spaldon, Singer

By Yangchen Dolma Leh, Feb 14, 2024
Leh :

Q. Briefly explain your journey into singing.

I am Jigmet Spaldon, hailing from Kyungyam Rong. I completed my schooling at Mahabodhi School and pursued my graduation in Chandigarh. Singing has been a part of my life since childhood. My singing journey took root during my time as an assistant at Mahabodhi, where I traveled to various places. While there, I would sing mantras and other songs, receiving compliments that sparked my interest. Subsequently, I joined the Luyang Band, providing me opportunities to explore different parts of Ladakh. Through the band, I delved into Ladakhi Folk songs, particularly the rich traditions of Jabro’s and Junglu. This marked the beginning of my official musical journey, and to this day, I continue to embrace and celebrate it.

Q. Can you share your experience with the selection process and journey to represent Ladakh in “Bharat ka Amrit Kalash,” and how many participants were involved in the competition?

The "Bharat ka Amrit Kalash" stands out as a distinctive and the largest folk singing reality show, featuring participants from every state and Union Territory of India. To be a part of this incredible platform, I submitted a video and successfully qualified for the ground-level round. Subsequently, a mega audition took place in Mumbai, where two individuals were chosen from each state, resulting in a total of 72 participants. As the competition progressed, the number was gradually narrowed down to the top 50, 40, 30, and finally, the top 20. I am honored to have secured a place in the top 15. The much-anticipated competition for the top 15 is scheduled for January 29th.
"Bharat Ka Amrit Kalash" is an initiative guided by Kailash Kher, aiming to provide a significant platform for folk singers. In an era where Western influences are becoming dominant, this show is a commendable effort to promote and celebrate the rich heritage of folk music.

Q. How would you describe the current status and progression of Ladakhi folk songs in today's times?

The appreciation for Ladakhi folk songs has seen a shift, with some challenges in recent times. Initially, there was a lack of interest among Ladakhi people, possibly due to the intricate lyrics that were not easily understood. Even personally, I found it challenging to grasp them initially. The complexity of language in folk songs made it a bit difficult to connect with for many. Consequently, the younger generation has gravitated towards genres like K-Pop and Bollywood music.

However, what makes Ladakhi culture and songs truly extraordinary are their unique and special qualities. When people from other states hear Ladakhi folk songs for the first time, they are genuinely amazed and appreciate the richness of our traditions. Participation in platforms like Bharat ka Amrit Kalash provides an excellent opportunity to showcase the beauty and depth of our folk songs to a wider audience.

To further promote and celebrate our cultural heritage, it's crucial to organize more workshops in Ladakh specifically focused on folk songs. This would serve as a wonderful means to preserve our traditions and ensure their transmission to future generations.

Q. How can we elevate folk music to a higher status in Ladakh, in your opinion?

To elevate folk music in Ladakh, it is crucial to integrate it prominently into local events and festivals. Leveraging social media platforms such as YouTube and Instagram can significantly expand the reach of our folk songs, connecting with a broader audience. Additionally, organising workshops and classes in local schools and colleges is essential to impart knowledge about folk music to the younger generation. By adopting these measures, we can enhance the value and popularity of folk music in our region.

Encouragingly, overcoming self-confidence challenges is vital for individuals to pursue their passion. Actively participating in various opportunities, both within and outside Ladakh, is an excellent way to break free from limiting mindsets. There are folk songs in our cultural repertoire that risk being forgotten. It's disheartening to witness their neglect, making it imperative for us to revive and cherish these overlooked gems.

Q. How do you strike a balance between preserving traditional Ladakhi Folk music and incorporating modern elements into your sound?

Every musician needs to acquire proficiency in both traditional and modern music. Striking a balance between these two genres is particularly crucial for professional singers who aim to excel in diverse musical landscapes. My approach involves singing folk music where it fits naturally and seamlessly transitioning to modern music as the occasion demands. By embracing both styles, I believe we can effectively showcase our talent and appeal to a broader spectrum of audiences.

Q. How important is the participation of the young generation, especially females, in the field of folk music?

I acknowledge your viewpoint. In Ladakh, there appears to be a shortage of female singers, and it is noticeable that predominantly boys participate in bands. Currently, there is no exclusive band for girls. Nevertheless, girls must step forward and capitalize on the numerous opportunities available. The success of a singing career ultimately hinges on personal interest and dedication. While in the past, families may not have fully grasped the significance of participation, in contemporary times, families are becoming more understanding and supportive. Encouraging parents to comprehend and support their children's interests is also crucial for fostering inclusivity in the field of folk music.

Message to the readers:

“In the journey of life, remember that nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. In Ladakh, it's evident that some individuals grapple with low confidence at times. However, confidence is a trait that everyone should nurture. It's essential never to compare ourselves to others, recognizing that each individual is inherently unique. Regardless of the circumstances, active participation and unwavering self-belief are crucial elements that propel us forward.”