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Nubi Zheym

The Zheym of Nub


Nubi Zheym being performed by the artists of the Academy.

This melodious song by women is performed during the annual festival at the district. It is loved very much for its melody.

Reasons for selection

Nub means west, the village situated to the west of Trongsa Dzong, the majestic castle housing the district headquarters, and Zheym means the classical dance of women as opposed to the Zhey classical dance of men. The women folk of Trongsa district are the only ones who are well-versed in this art and spontaneously perform it. This has to be preserved and promoted making it accessible to the women folk all over Bhutan.

Area where performed

This is a type of classical dance and song performed by women of central Bhutan.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance

Detailed explanation

Nubi Zheym is not accompanied by any musical instrument for it is believed that the voice of the women outperforms the musical instruments.

The characteristics
The number of performers is at least seven and at the most fifteen i.e. in odd numbers. The performers stand in a single line and gently sway. They hold each other loosely with their little fingers. The ringing tone of the song and gentle swaying of the body go together. The main verse of the song is sung by the leader. As the leader lowers the tone, the group raise their voices to a crescendo. Tradition has it that this song has to be performed before dawn as the melody of the song awakens everyone from their slumber and dispels the drowsiness.

Owing chiefly to the lack of resources for any types of documentation in those days the lyricist and the composer of this song are not known but it is believed to have been composed by local artists some time in the late nineteenth century.

This traditional performing art comes from Nub, a village under Trongsa district, located in central Bhutan. Trongsa district is the birthplace of some of the most famous singers who are known and appreciated for their unique melody. There is hardly anyone without the gift of singing in this district. The district festival or Tshechu falls in the month of November.

Publication and textual documentation

not yet available

Audio documentation

not yet available

Visual documentation

no information at present

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

no information at present

Data provider

Phuntsho Gyeltshen
Royal Academy of Performing Arts
Address: (Special Commission of Performing Arts)Post Box #493 Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan