Crowners, the first boy band in Bhutan, inspired by international bands like One Direction and K-Pop is currently on a tour of eastern Bhutan.
Crowners was formed in 2017 with friends getting together to cover their favorite songs. The band consists of four boys and was started by Jigme Tandin Wangchuck.
“We started the band with the help of Yiwong Pindrica Chophel and Tsheten Drukpa who are still our band patrons,” said the band leader.
The band plans to tour all the dzongkhags starting with the east. “We will be performing in the colleges and schools mostly,” said the band leader.
The band has planned the tour to gain popularity among the Bhutanese and aims to go international. “Without knowing our own people first, we won’t be able to shine.”
The tour funding and logistics are being taken care of by the band patrons.
Jigme Tandin Wangchuk also said that the band has fans based in the eastern part of the country. “We got an offer from students of Sherubtse College so we will start our concert from Sherubtse College, Jampeling central school and some other schools.”
The concert tickets cost Nu 20-25 each.
Jigme Tandin Wangchuk added that such tours are a boon as the band can get many experiences and encouragement from the fans which would drive them to work harder.
Unlike other bands in the country, Crowners was formed with an aim to create a platform for other youth who would want to start something on similar lines and to entertain the public at an elevated level. “All the members of the band can sing and dance to our own composed songs which is unique compared to other bands.”
A member of the band said that most of the bands and artists in the country face problems like lack of avenues to showcase their talents and dismal income, which leads to many bands formed dissolving within no time.
However, he said Crowners was lucky as it did not have to face such challenges since the leader of the band was already in the film industry and had good relations with filmmakers.
Another member said that today, Bhutan’s traditional music like Zhungdra and Boedra are increasingly losing hold while rappers and rock bands have taken over.
“Bhutanese songs are no longer about flowers and beautiful girls. They express modern problems and people’s hopes and aspirations,” he said citing examples of their songs such as Lam Adram (youth inspirational song), Tshogyen (voting song), Semghi sung (rap song). The band has also composed and sang the anthem for the Thimphu football club. The band sustains through concerts, night club and official event performances.
The band leader said that the band aims to build its fan base in Bhutan first and later try for international shows by representing the country. “If we do things professionally with passion, everything is possible.”
Additionally, he also said that to gain more attention from the audience, the band dresses in both traditional and modern costumes. “In order to be loved by the youth, we wear what they like and to gain attention from older people and to preserve and promote our culture, we wear our national dress.”
“But when it comes to stage performances we always go for the national dress,” he said.
After the completion of the first three years, the band plans to come up with a movie based on their true story in order to inspire upcoming bands and artists.
Meanwhile, the band leader said the band plans to start its own studio to help other aspiring youth.
Jigme Wangchen from Trashigang