GANGTOK, July 30 - Padma Shri Sonam Tshering Lepcha, a celebrated folk musician, composer and lyricist, passed away at Kalimpong in West Bengal today at the age of 92 years.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of Lepcha.
In a tweet, the Prime Minister said, �Padma Shri Ren Sonam Tshering Lepcha Ji was a multifaceted personality. He made outstanding efforts to popularise the great Lepcha culture. His works are respected across generations. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.�
He was the first from the Lepcha tribe to perform for the All India Radio. He was credited with the revival of Lepcha culture. He has over 400 folk songs, 102 folk dances and 10 dance dramas to his credit. He won numerous awards and honours, including the coveted Padma Shri.
�I extend my sincere condolences on the passing away of Shri Sonam Tshering Lepcha at the age of 92. He is also the founder of a museum in Kalimpong, housing ancient artefacts, including indigenous instruments and manuscripts. My deepest sympathies to his family and friends and pray that God gives them strength in this hour of grief,� Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang said in his condolence message.
Similarly, SDF supremo and former Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling also condoled his demise and stated that he contributed tremendously to the folk music genre and was well known and appreciated for reviving the Lepcha folk culture with his compositions of song, dance and drama.
�I extend my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. May the almighty give them the strength to weather the pain of losing Shri Lepcha. And may his soul rest in peace,� said Chamling.
Anit Thapa, Chairman of Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, and Bimal Gurung, President of Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (Bimal) have also offered their heartfelt condolences to his family members and friends.