Lhakpa Quendren | Gelephu

Students of Sonamthang Central School in Zhemgang have charmed the nation by unveiling a series of captivating cover songs on its YouTube channel and becoming a source of delight for music enthusiasts across the country and beyond. 

The school made its debut in the world of cover songs a month ago with the release of “Tshoeyira.” This was followed by the soulful rendition of “Bum Jarim” and, most recently, a collaboration with Red Dot Bhutan on the track “Khathen Senna”. The latter was a heartfelt tribute to HRH Princess Euphelma Choden Wangchuck, commemorating her 30th birthday.

A big hit

The music videos where students sing and dance in their school uniform have captured the hearts, instantly becoming a sensation among netizens. There is a huge fan following already. Tshoeyira, the first cover song, has amassed an impressive 238,000, while “Bum Jarim” garnered around 186,000 viewers in a week on the school’s YouTube channel. “Khathen Senna” reached 50,000 views in just 24 hours.

Kinzang Choden Tshering, one of the gifted singers behind these melodious renditions, revealed her passion for singing, nurtured since an early age. “I believe that singing offers opportunities that extend beyond education. If everyone is provided a platform to showcase their talents, they will soar to great heights,” said the ninth grader.

Over 1,000 people including popular Yeshi Lhendup Films expressed their admiration for the three cover songs while some admitted repeatedly watching the music videos. “I wish that other schools would also encourage an environment where students can learn through music and entertainment from a grassroots level,” Yeshi Lhendup Films commented.

“Excellence is groomed here,’’ popular blogger Wangcha Sangey commented, sharing a clip of the student’s heartfelt performance in “Bum Jarim. ”For once, people are talking about music, love and a remote school and not Australia,” quipped another.

“I got goosebumps listening to your voice. My favourite is Kinzang Choden,” remarked another.” Another said, “Let’s go kids.. you all got a big world ahead! A big shout out to the school team. This is what we call wholesome education, the new generation way of learning, encouraging and inspiring.”

Meanwhile, the delightful renditions have found their way into the hearts of the audience, making them sway to the melodious tunes. The songs are played all over – in towns, cars, and entertainment centers, and at the Khadhar ceremonies of the recently-elected National Council members. 

Promoting holistic education

Behind these captivating music videos stands Tempa Rinchen, an ICT-math teacher, songwriter and singer. He runs the audiovisual club in the school and worked on music videos as part of the club’s project. Tempa started the audiovisual club at the school to provide a platform for students’ passions after discovering their soothing voices and keen interests.  “Students have longed for a platform. A few students even have their own compositions.”

“I find immense fulfillment in nurturing young talents, fostering their musical abilities, and guiding them on their artistic journeys. It is through their growth and accomplishments that I am continuously inspired, reaffirming the profound significance of music in our lives,” said Tempa.

School principal, Rinzin Wangdi, said it was a part of wholesome education and not to compete with anyone. “I am impressed with the students. All they needed was a platform,” he said. 

Recognizing Tempa Rinchen’s unwavering dedication to producing these remarkable videos, Principal Rinzin Wangdi acknowledged, “Despite having a baby at home, Tempa selflessly devotes his time, even on Sundays, to cater to his students’ interests.” Due to limited resources, Tempa employs his personal equipment, including his computer and cameras, for the recordings.

Encouraged by the overwhelming response from viewers, the school is preparing to soon release two more videos including the school’s theme song composed by principal Rinzin Wangdi himself.

“The instructional hours are not compromised due to video-making. We can’t afford to hamper instructional hours. This happens only during the club period (every Saturday). Of course, we have to sacrifice Sundays at times,” principal said.