Saya Tin

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YMB Saya Tin
YMB ဆရာတင်
Born(1894-02-12)12 February 1894
OriginMandalay, British Burma (now Myanmar)
Died8 August 1950(1950-08-08) (aged 56)
GenresTraditional Burmese music
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, teacher
Years active1918–50

Saya Tin (Burmese: ဆရာတင်, pronounced [sʰəjà tɪ̀ɰ̃]; 12 February 1894 – 8 August 1950) was a Burmese composer. He was one of three well known pre-war composers with the name Saya Tin. The others were Nandawshae Saya Tin [my] and Thahaya Saya Tin [my]. He is best known for composing "Kaba Ma Kyei", the national anthem of Burma (Myanmar).

Early life[edit]

Tin was born in Mandalay on 12 February 1894 (7th waxing of Tabodwe ME) to Daw Thein and her husband Yan Aung, a former official in the service of the last Burmese king Thibaw.[1] He had one elder sister and one younger sister.

After finishing high school at age 17, Tin worked as a school teacher in a private school for the next three years. In his leisure time Tin took up playing his concertina, exploring its sounds, and studying traditional Burmese music.

Musical career[edit]

In 1918, Tin founded his own private school, the "Young Men's Buddhist School" in Mandalay, and came to be known as YMB Saya Tin. (Saya in Burmese means "teacher"). His school's musical troupe performed free of charge at charity events and weddings.

In 1930, Tin closed down his school and moved to Yangon where his songs had been recorded, and used in films. Tin met up with an old classmate Thakin Ba Thaung, and joined his political movement, Dobama Asiayone (We Burmese Association).

"Kaba Ma Kyei"[edit]

Tin composed Kaba Ma Kyei (Till the End of the World), the national anthem of Burma, in 1930, with Ba Thaung supplying the patriotic lyrics. Tin himself gave the first ceremonial rendition of the song on the flat ground of Shwedagon Pagoda at 5:00 pm on 20 July 1930. After the ceremony, Tin was imprisoned by British officers, who accused him of inciting insurgents. He was later released in 1946. In 1947, the song was adopted as the Burmese national anthem for which he was awarded one thousand kyats. The Burmese government awarded him the title Wunna Kyawhtin (the beautiful-famous) on the Independence Day, 4 January 1950.


Saya Tin died of tuberculosis on 8 August 1950 and was buried in Yangon. Tin had composed over 4,000 songs.[1]


  1. ^ a b MSK 1964: 74
  • Myat Soe, ed. (1964). Myanma Swezon Kyan (in Burmese). 5 (1 ed.). Yangon: Sarpay Beikman.