In Conversation with Tundup Dorjay Stakmo, Singer

By Reach Ladakh Correspondent Leh, Sep 20, 2023
Leh :

Q. Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to pursue a music career.

I am Tundup Dorjey from Stakmo and everyone calls me ‘Dorjey Stakmo’. The reason people call me Dorjay Stakmo is that when I used to go to a radio station there were many people with the name Tundup Dorjey, thus, I chose my name along with my village name so that there would be no confusion, and it easier to be remembered.

 I always had an interest in listening to music and singing since childhood though there were not so much of exposures and platform as it is now. I used to get some opportunities to sing at small events in villages, mostly folk songs. I got more chances to perform when I came across some songs written by Late Aba Tashi Rabgais. I enjoyed listening to folk songs on the radio, which was the only source of music back then. When I was in 7th grade, I participated in the program organised by Culture Academy, where I had an opportunity to showcase my talent, and through that, I got more chances to learn our folk songs. Everyone used to appreciate my vocal skills which gave me a lot of confidence to pursue it further.

Q. What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?

Initial days are all about growing with challenges. When I was a school-going kid, my parents did not allow me to sing much, and I would use my pocket money to buy instruments instead of books. Despite my deep interest in singing, my parents and teachers discouraged me from pursuing it, and unfortunately, there were also not many opportunities available in this field back in those days. When I was in 10th grade, I got a chance to teach for 5-6 months as a teacher, after that, I got an opportunity to work at JNV School Leh for a month. Between those days, I used to sing whenever I got an opportunity. Later, I left the job which made things a bit challenging, but I started working on albums.

Q. Share with us about the importance of folk songs.

When I was young, I only heard folk songs and everyone knows folk songs as the national anthem. I started releasing folk song albums as I have more interest in our traditions and culture. I made an album titled, “Gyanak Poda” which everyone liked it and got a very good response. Since then, I started focusing more on folk songs. There was a time, I used to sing folk songs without knowing their meanings, but folk songs have a lot of history and meaning. We can learn a lot about our history and culture through folk songs. So they are very important. Nowadays even youth are showing a lot of interest in learning folk songs “Junglu’s & Jabro’s’’. I have visited many foreign countries to sing our folk songs. You can find Guitars and other musical instruments in every corner of the world but traditional instruments like DAMAN & SURNA are only found in Ladakh. We should encourage the young generation to take an interest in folk songs so that they don’t fade away.

Q. What are the scope and potential you see in Ladakh if anyone wants to pursue a music career?

Over the past few years, I have participated in a lot of events. Last year, I organised a program that had a lot of music events like a singing competition and through all of this, I learned that such events are not just about one’s personal growth, it is about contributing to society. If you work hard with 100 percent dedication, there is a lot of potential to gain fame and make money. In today’s world, because of social media, it has become easier to reach out to people. 

Q. As a successful musician, what advice would you give to parents who may not support their children’s interest in pursuing music?

Parents are becoming more educated these days, and many are aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol. However, many children are still getting engaged in such risky behavior. That’s why many parents are seeking guidance and bringing their children to my music Studio “Dayangs” for music lessons. They ask for my guidance to help their children learn how to sing and to build their confidence. I believe that when children get busy with something positive, there are fewer chances to get engage in bad behavior. Also, parents need to provide support to their children in all aspects of life. This support can come in various forms, such as encouragement, guidance, and emotional development, and it plays a very vital role in shaping children’s growth and success. By fostering a positive and supportive environment, parents can help their children build resilience and a sense of security, which are essential for navigating life’s challenges and pursuing their goals.

Message to the readers

"Parents should encourage children to participate in co-curricular activities. These activities help in the overall development of their personality and provide opportunities for them to explore their interests and talents beyond academic studies."