The Music of Bhutan Research Center (MBRC) was founded in Thimphu in late 2008
to document, preserve, and promote the traditional music of Bhutan. MBRC aims to break
new ground by professionally researching, recording and archiving the many musical
traditions of the country’s diverse regional, linguistic and ethnic groups,
and by documenting the finest living master musicians in performance and interviews.
In this time of dramatic change and transition, imported popular music and
culture is increasingly influential in Bhutan. Through training programs and the production of CD recordings,
videos, and other educational materials, MBRC hopes to foster renewed
appreciation of and involvement in traditional music within Bhutan, and to
introduce this rich, profoundly beautiful music to a global audience.
Renowned Bhutanese musician Kheng Sonam Dorji, of Thimphu, is directing
all of MBRC's activities in Bhutan. The U.S.
support arm of MBRC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based out of Santa Cruz, CA.
MBRC's current priority is to document as many elder master musicians as possible, many of whom
carry repertoire and knowledge unknown to younger generations.
For our inaugural project, MBRC recorded songs and interviews with the legendary zhungdra
singer Am Nimchu Pem at her home in Sengbji, Trongsa, in October 2008.
Since then the MBRC crew has documented over 20 other elder masters, some of whom are featured
in our 2010 publication, Masters of Bhutanese Tradtional Music, Vol. One (book and sampler CD).
Please see our Books & Recordings page to view these resources.
MBRC also recently partnered with the Royal Government of Bhutan to establish the annual
"Living Treasure for Culture Award" for lifetime achievement in traditional music.
Please contact us to get on our email list to receive our annual newsletter.
Check out the March 2010 newsletter detailing our
work with the Royal Academy of Performing Arts (RAPA), field expedition to Lower Kheng, outreach
events in the U.S. and more!
MBRC is grateful to staff of The Bhutan Foundation and the 2008 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife
Bhutan Exhibition for critical assistance during our first year of operation.