Amber Gurung

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

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.[2] 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.[3]

On 1 January 2014, he was conferred with the title of “Mahasangeetkar” by Himalayan Tones Music Academy of Hong Kong. Organizing “Amber Gurung Ratri”,Dinesh Subba. Gurung composed Nepal’s new national anthem, Sayaun Thunga Phool Ka in 2007. He was 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 in 1968, and served as Music Director for nearly 30 years. He was appointed the founding Chancellor of Nepal Academy of Music and Drama in 2010.[4] On the morning of 7 June 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.


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