Nepal – the country of Mt. Everest and Buddha

Nepal – the country of Mt. Everest and Buddha

Personality: Amber Gurung

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 12, 2012

Amber Gurung  is a renowned composersinger and lyricist of Nepali music.

Amber Gurung was born in Darjeeling, where his father, Ujir Singh Gurung, a former soldier in the British Indian Army, was serving as a policeman. His mother encouraged him to sing and compose as a child, and he taught himself to play both Indian and Western instruments. He studied at Turnbull School, Darjeeling, where he had fallen in love with music singing Bible hymns.

In the 1950s, one of his important associations was with the Nepali poet Agam Singh Giri. He became the headmaster of Bhanu Bhakta School founded by Giri and instituted a music school, the Art Academy of Music, in the school’s premises. He recorded his famous song “Nau Lakh Tara” (a song about the sufferings of the Nepali diaspora in India) in the early 1960s, written by Agam Singh Giri. His students at his academy included musicians and singers such as Gopal YonzonKarma YonzonAruna Lama, Sharan Pradhan, Peter Karthak, Indra Gajmer, Jitendra Bardewa and Ranjit Gazmer. He worked as the Music Chief of Folk Entertainment Unit, Government of West Bengal, Darjeeling from 1962 to 1965. Here, he was barred from singing or recording songs outside the unit. He moved to KathmanduNepal in 1969.

Lifetime achievements

• Composed Nepal’s new national anthemSayaun Thunga Phool Ka (2007)
• Invited by Nepal’s King Mahendra to return to Nepal to establish and chair the music department of the newly founded Nepal Academy of Arts (1968.) Served as Music Director for nearly 30 years.
• Renowned as the father of modern Nepali music, having introduced and integrated Western musical methodology and styles into the Nepali music scene
• Author and recording artist of more than 1000 songs (1961–2006)
• Composed/conducted the first Nepali chorales (1988, 1997)
• Composed/conducted the first Nepali operas, Malati Mangale (“Malati and Mangale,” 1986), Muna Madan, (“Muna and Madan,” 1979), Kunjini (1963)
• Composed/conducted the first Nepali cantatas, Smriti (“Reminiscence,” 1964), Brave Gorkhas (1972)
• Scored 3 feature films and several documentaries
• Published 3 books: 2 volumes of lyrics, Samaalera Raakha (“Keep It Safe”, 1969) and Akcharkaa Awajharu (“Sounds of Words,” 2003), and an anthology of essays and memoirs,Kahaa Gae Ti Dinharu (“Remembrance of Days Past,” 2006, which won the Uttam Shanti Shahitya Puraskar for 2007)
• Honored with more than 25 life-time awards and felicitations
• Frequent presenter at international music and cultural fora, including:
• “Songs of Asia,” sponsored by UNESCO, in the Philippines, Japan and China
• Conference on music education, sponsored by the International Society for Music Education, Spain….

Professional history

Chairman, Nepal Music Center Kathmandu, Nepal (2006–2007)

Music Director, Nepal Academy (of Arts and Literature) Kathmandu, Nepal (1968–1996)

Music Teacher, Dr. Grahams Homes, Kalimpong, India (1967–1968)

Music Chief, Folk Entertainment Unit, Government of West Bengal, Darjeeling, India (1962–1965)

First Song Recorded Nau Lakhe Tara (“Anthem of the Nepali Diaspora”)

Selected awards

• Uttam Shanti Shahitya Puraskar (2007)

• Kantipur FM Lifetime Achievement Award (2006)
• Hits FM Lifetime Achievement Award (2001)
• Madhurima Phulkumar Mahato Puraskar, Kathmandu (2000)
• Tuborg Outstanding Award (1999)
• Image Award, Image TV, Kathmandu (1999)
• Jagadamba Shree, Kathmandu (1998)
• Bhupal Man Singh, Kathmandu (1998)
• Sha-Shanka, Jhapa (1996)
• Giri Puraskar, Darjeeling, India (1994)
• Golden Flute Award (CEDOS), Sikkim, India (1993)
• Indra Rajya Laxmi Pragya Puraskar, Kathmandu (1987)
• Chinalata Puraskar, Kathmandu (1983)
• Gorkha Dakshina Bahu, Kathmandu (1971)
• Gold Medal, Radio Nepal, Kathmandu (1970)


• Kalimpong, India (1994, 2008)

• Tamu Lochar Mul Aayojak Sameeti (2007)
• Democratic National Youth Federation, Nepal (2007)
• Hamdard Laboratories, Letter of Honour (2007)
• Aadibasi Janajati Uthan Rastriya Pratisthan (2007)
• Indigenous Lyricist Society, Nepal (2006)
• Narayan Gopal Sangeet Samman (2005)
• Darjeeling, India (2005, 1994, 1968)
• Nepal Sahitya Parisad, Sikkim, India (2005)
• Nepal Samman Everest Foundation, Nepal (2003)
• Radio Puraskar Sewa Bikash Sameeti, Nepal (2002)
• Kha Pa Sangeet Pucha, Bhaktapur (2002)
• Tamu Sanskritik Pratisthan, Nepal (2001)
• Nepal Cultural Council, Nepal (2000)
• New York, NY, US (1998)
• Boston, MA, US (1998)
• Washington D.C., US (1998)
• London, England (1998)
• Ilam, Nepal (1998)
• Mitra Sen, Bhagsu, India (1996)
• Kurseong, India (1994)
• Mirik, India (1994)
• Astha Pariwar (1992)


2 Responses to “Personality: Amber Gurung”

  1. Sanjay Khawas said

    Is it possible to get the song “Nau Lakh Tara” ? I would be very grateful if u could kindly advise me on how to acquire this particular song.

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