Amber Gurung

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Amber Gurung
Born (1938-02-26)February 26, 1938
Darjeeling, India
Died June 7, 2016(2016-06-07) (aged 78)
Grande Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal
Occupation Composer, singer, lyricist
Language Nepali language and Gurung

Indian (1938–1969)

Nepalese (1970–2016)
Ethnicity Gurung

India (1938–1969)

Nepal (1970–2016)

Amber Gurung (Nepali: अम्बर गुरुङ; February 26, 1938 – June 7, 2016) was a Nepalese composer, singer, and lyricist. He also composed Nepal's national anthem, "Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka".[1]

Early life[edit]

Mahasangeetkar (the great musician)[2] Amber Gurung was born in Darjeeling, India, where his father, Ujir Singh Gurung, a former soldier in the British Indian Army, was serving as a policeman from Gorkha district, Nepal. His mother encouraged him to sing and compose as a child, and he taught himself to play both Nepali, Indian and Western instruments.[3] 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 Yonzon, Karma Yonzon, Aruna 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 and settled in Kathmandu, Nepal, in 1969.[4]

Lifetime achievements[edit]

• On 1st jan, 2014, he was conferred with the title of "Mahasangeetkar" by Himalayan Tones Music Academy of Hong Kong. Organizing "Amber Gurung Ratri",Dinesh Subba,[5] director of Himalayan Tones said that it was well deserved title for him for contributing almost 6 decades to Nepalese music. • Composed Nepal’s new national anthem, Sayaun 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 [[List of art schools|Academy of Arts]] (1968.) Served as Music Director for nearly 30 years.
• Known 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[edit]

Chancellor, Nepal Academy of Music and Drama, Kathmandu, Nepal (2010–2016)

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, Darjeeling (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[edit]

• Hon. Colonel of Nepal Army for composing "Rato ra chandra Surya" (2011)
• 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)

Selected felicitations[edit]

• "Mahasangeetkar" conferred by Himalayan Tones Hong Kong on 1st jan 2014 during "Amber Gurung Ratri"
• 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)


On the morning of June 7, 2016, Gurung died at age 79 during the course of his treatment at the Grande International Hospital. Gurung had previously undergone treatment for a tumor in his esophagus. Gurung was rushed to the ICU and was kept on a ventilator the previous day.

Countries visited (participation in conferences and musical tours)[edit]

UK, US, Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, China, Malaysia, Spain


  1. ^ "Music is not entertainment: Amber Gurung". República (Nepalese newspaper) Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Video on YouTube

External links[edit]