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Ache Lhamo in front of Gongkar Dzong, 1939

Lhamo, or Ache Lhamo, which literally means "sister goddess", is a Tibetan folk opera. It is a combination of dances, chants and songs. The repertoire is drawn from Buddhist stories and Tibetan folklore history. In the Tibetan language, opera is called "Al-che-lha-mo", the actor lha-mo-ba and the script khrab-gzhung.

The Tibetan opera was founded in the 14th century by Thang Tong Gyalpo, a Lama and a bridge builder. Gyalpo and seven recruited girls organized the first performance to raise funds for building bridges, which would facilitate transportation in Tibet. The tradition continued, and lhamo is held on various festive occasions such as the Linka and Shoton festival.

The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts at Dharamsala, runs an opera company, which produces shows to promote this art form. Brooklyn-based singer Doe Paoro trained there while living in the region, and blends the opera's vocally acrobatic stylings with elements of soul, dubstep, and R&B.

The Lhamo is part of the China's UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.[1]

See also: Yungchen Lhamo

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