The Lama’s Chants

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA – A tenth-anniversary edition of The Lama’s Chants by Lama Gyurme & Jean-Philippe Rykiel is now available. In 1994, Lama Gyurme met
the gifted, blind French pianist Jean-Philippe Rykiel through a mutual friend
who was then studying with the Lama. Rykiel – a Theolonious Monk-influenced
composer and arranger for the likes of Salif Keita, Papa Wemba, Youssou N’Dour,
Leonard Cohen, and Jon Hassell – is drawn to others with musical gifts. On
hearing that the Lama was a “Master of Music,” he expressed his desire to meet,
and the two had a musical getting-acquainted session over a cup of tea. “When he
gave me the tape of that session
,” says producer Jean-Michel Reusser, “I was
astounded. My first reaction was ‘people must hear thi
s.'”The result of their remarkable collaboration was the milestone 1994 recording,
The Lama’s Chants, which was released on Sony Classical and achieved gold status
in various countries around the world, becoming a classic of sacred chant and
ambient recording. “The Lama displays his gold records in a small display case
at his monastery
,” smiles Reusser, who also produced the duo’s subsequent

Rain of Blessings
collaboration for Peter Gabriel’s Real World

This special tenth-anniversary edition of The Lama’s Chants, on Narada, features
a fresh re-mastering of the legendary original album, accompanied by a second
disc, Roads Of Blessings, comprised of live chant performances recorded
at concerts by Lama Gyurme, Jean-Philippe Rykiel, and keyboardist Loy Ehrlich in
Europe, Asia, and the United States between 1995 and 2001, with no studio
overdubs or additional effects.

The mantras performed on both discs are Tibetan Buddhist blessings intended to
heal, purify, protect, and liberate, and also include prayers for peace. The
Lama’s soothing voice and Rykiel’s delicate, ethereal framings create a
contemplative space for the listener to meditate, a quiet place too often
overlooked in our Western culture. This is all delivered with sparse beauty
through lovingly-crafted arrangements and profoundly heartfelt vocal expression.

Performing live, Lama Gyurme sits cross-legged in his trademark saffron and
bordeaux-colored robe, surrounded by a myriad of tiny Tibetan oil lamps. His
eyes are often closed, and he rarely speaks between the mantras. “These
performances are like quiet moments amidst the bustle of the city
,” says
producer Jean-Michel Reusser.

What makes their work together unique is the way both collaborators maintain
distinct musical paths. “They simply listen to one another,” Reusser continues,
There was a lot of respect for backgrounds, but this was really beyond
cultures. It is like two human beings coming together on parallel lines

Lama’s Chants

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central