I. “Politics has always been a part of our lives, especially with my generation,” says Tenzing Jigme, guitarist of JJI Exile Brothers, a Tibetan rock band. “The struggle for Tibetan independence is what brings all Tibetans together, and that is the driving force behind us. Freedom is in our blood.”
II. "Our mother, Nyima Phanthok, has played a huge role in the conception and management of the band. She encouraged us to step up from our small jam sessions to a bigger performance at the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), We've been pursuing music together professionally ever since."
III. “We have grown up listening to Bollywood and Western music as much as traditional Tibetan music. I personally really enjoy listening to Lou Reed, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits and my brothers and I all love Pink Floyd and The Doors,” Tenzing admits.
IV. “One of our new songs is called ‘Our Lama’. In Tibet, musicians are punished severely for writing rebellious pieces against the Chinese and we often use symbolism amongst ourselves. Our song, similarly, indicates the sun to be the Dalai Lama, the moon to be the Panchen Lama, and the star to be the Kraponla, three of the highest religious titles in Tibetan Buddhism. We hope that they will all be able to meet again soon.”
Words: Aditi Dharmadhikari