Techung is a Tibetan folk and freedom singer/songwriter living in exile in Dharamsala and Los Angeles. He is best known for his performances of traditional Tibetan music, dance, and opera under the name Tashi Dhondup Sharzur. He uses his childhood nickname, Techung, when performing as a solo artist. Whether performing in traditional or contemporary style, Techung’s dual goals are to revive Tibetan music in the Tibetan community and to expose the rich performing arts tradition of his homeland to the world community.
Techung grew up in Dharamshala, India, where his family and thousands of other Tibetans resettled from their native Tibet. At the age of 9 he was enrolled in the Tibetan Dance and Drama School now known as the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA). In his 17 years of residency at the Institute, he studied all aspects of the Tibetan performing arts – folk, court, and opera – through the oral teaching tradition used by venerated Tibetan elders. He toured with TIPA in its first international tour as a leading child actor, in 1975-76 and for many years afterwards.
After immigrating to the US, he co-founded the San Francisco-based Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company in 1989. He worked for the Milarepa Fund, in San Francisco, on the Tibetan Freedom Concerts world series from 1995-97.
In addition to being looked up to as one of the key keepers of Tibetan musical traditions, Techung is also respected for the original solo and collaborative music he creates by drawing on both his own heritage and his familiarity with other world music traditions. He collaborated on his first solo album, Yarlung: Tibetan Songs of Love and Freedom (1997) with composer/performer Miguel Frasconi, followed by Sky Treasure (2001) with Windham Hill jazz keyboardist Kit Walker. His other albums are Changhay: Traditional Tibetan drinking songs, Vol. 1 (1999),Nyingtop-Courage (2002), TibetFest (2005), Sempai Rewa-Hopes in the Heart (2005), Songs from Tibet(2006), Wind of Peace (2008), Dalai Lama Renaissance (2009).
His latest album Techung-Tibet-Lam La Che: On The Road (2013), with Keb Mo and poet Tsering Woeser, received four Best awards at the 2013 Tibetan Music Awards: Best Album, Best Song, Best album cover design and Best Love song.
Techung’s voice and music have been featured on the soundtracks of the IMAX film Everest, as well as feature and documentary films: Windhorse (1998),Dreaming Lhasa (2006), Blind Sight (2007), What Remains of Us (2004), Dalai Lama Renaissance(2008), Fire Under the Snow (2008), A Good Day to Die and Living Wisdom with His Holiness the Dalai Lama (2008).
In 2011-2012, he taught traditional music and dance at Emory University. In 2013, Techung also directed a Tibetan opera (Ache Lhamo) at Emory University.
Techung and his band perform regularly at the Tibet House Annual Benefit Concert at Carnegie Hall, with prominent artists such as Philip Glass, Patti Smith and others. In recent years, Techung has had the honor of opening for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public talks in the USA, Costa Rica and Japan.
In 2012-2013, Techung and his band toured in 15 cities in North America. In 2013 Techung also performed on several occasions, solo, in India.