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Ngawang Pem Bhutan

Ngawang Pem is a broadcaster and jazz aficionado based in Thimphu, Bhutan. She has participated in International Jazz Day since 2015.

“Jazz music in its roots is associated with freedom and unity.”

Why do you celebrate International Jazz Day?
Jazz music in its roots is associated with freedom and unity. Therefore, for me celebrating International Jazz Day is an expression of the importance of freedom of expression, encouragement of creativity towards uniting people, cultures and practices.

What does jazz mean to you personally? To your community and country?
Jazz to me is a genre of music that is incredibly unpredictable to listeners and immensely difficult to compose but at the same time easy to listen to, and it triggers contemplation. Personally, that jazz brings together various musical instruments and different forms of music like blues and folk, among others, to produce a common form of music, is a good example of what unity and cooperation can create.

How can jazz contribute to dialogue in your country?
Music is a poem expressed with beats and in rhythm. Jazz music in particular is the innovation of conventional music to express meaningful thoughts, frustrations and ideas. Jazz music should therefore be encouraged, as should performance. I believe it simply encourages people to come together into a space where their interests can converge and in the process lead to dialogue where common understanding can be built.