Tag Archives: Tibetan

Artist Profiles: Penpa Tsering

Penpa Tsering – Photo by Ananda Apfelbaum

Penpa Tsering a world class musician, singer and dancer, was born in Chamdo Kham (eastern Tibet) in 1963. In the 1970s and 1980s Tsering studied and performed throughout Tibet traveling with his school’s Tibet Cultural Center as a performing artist and studying singing with the nomads of Kham.

He moved to India in 1989 where he was invited to join the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) in Dharamsala as a teacher and performer. While in India, Tsering also taught at the Chushi Gangdruk Institute for Performing Arts in Delhi. With TIPA, Tsering toured extensively throughout India as well as in Japan Thailand Nepal Sikkim and Finland.

In October 2000 he moved to the United States where he has continued to teach and perform. Penpa Tsering currently resides in Massachusetts. Tsering’s voice can frequently be heard on Voice of America – Tibetan Services and on Radio Free Asia – Tibetan Services. Penpa Tsering has made a number of recordings both as a solo artist and in connection with TIPA.


Artist Profiles: Nawang Khechog

Nawang Khechog

Born in Tibet, Nawang Khechog spent his earliest years as the child of nomads. In his boyhood he first learned to play the bamboo flute, an ancient instrument popular in rural villages throughout Tibet. After the subjugation of Tibet by Chinese Communists in 1949 Nawang and his family escaped to India. There he studied meditation and Buddhist philosophy a path he followed as a monk for eleven years – four of them as a hermit.

In 1986 he emigrated to Australia where he first performed and his recordings achieved bestseller status. Nawang is best known for his collaborations with Japanese composer and multi-instrumentalist Kitaro, including a world tour and performances on Kitaro’s acclaimed Enchanted Evening and Mandala albums. His live performances with Philip Glass Paul Winter, Laurie Anderson, Paul Simon, Natalie Merchant, and Baba Olatunji have received international acclaim.

In 2003 he released Universal Love, his first major recording project in five years. The album features Tibetan flute on all songs; Tibetan long horn (doongchen) and overtone chanting; universal horn (invented by Nawang Khechog); Aboriginal didjeridu; African drums and kalimba; Mayan ocarinas; Native American drum; and chants of universal love by the Dalai Lama and others.

Nawang Khechog

In February of 2007 Nawang Khechog was seriously injured in a car accident while in India. He recovered and currently lives in Colorado, USA.


Sounds Of Peace (Sounds True, 1988)
Rhythms Of Peace (Music Tibet, 1989)
Quiet Mind (Sounds True, 1991)
Karuna (Domo, 1995)
Winds Of Devotion, with R. Carlos Nakai (EarthSea Records, 1998)
The Dance Of Innocents, with Peter Kater (EarthSea Records, 1998)
Universal Love ‎(Sounds True, 2003)
Music As Medicine, with R. Carlos Nakai ‎(Sounds True, 2004)
Tibetan Meditation Music – For Quiet Mind And Peaceful Heart ‎(Sounds True, 2007)
Tibetan Dream Journey ‎(Sounds True, 2011)


Fascinating Tibetan Musical Diversity of Dharamsala

Various Artists – Men of Dharamsala (Yarlung Records YAR70902, 2015)


Various Artists – Men of Dharamsala (Yarlung Records YAR70902, 2015)

Men of Dharamsala is a fascinating project in support of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. Even though Dharamsala is located in northern india, it is the home of a large Tibetan exile community.

The Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) was established by the Dalai Lama in 1959. Since then the TIPA and its musicians have labored to keep Tibetan performing arts alive.

The project was carried out by an American production crew consisting of associate producer and Tibetan opera singer Tsering Lodoe, executive producer Randy Bellous, assistant producer Jacob Horowitz, mastering engineer Steve Hoffman and their Tibetan friends Tenzin Sangpo, Rinchen Lhamo and Dhondup Namgyal.

The production team recorded Men of Dharamsala in the auditorium at TIPA in McLeod Ganj, above Dharamsala. Tibetan culture was represented by Tibetan opera, dance and folk music, nomad songs from the Tibetan plateau sung in Amdo, and mesmerizing pujas (prayers) from the Nechung Monastery featuring wind instruments, human skull rattles and Tibetan long horns.

The album begins with Chinbep Puja (Blessing of the Environment) by the monks of Nechung Monastery.

Track 2, “Great Eastern Sun”, is a Tibetan nomad song in Amdo by Toenpa Kyap.

Track 3, “Gyalue Namthar & Ringa” is a stage purification dance by Penpa Tsering, Sharab Wangmo and a chorus of dakinis.

On track 4, titled “Rangyul Rangla Mayna”, guitarist and vocalist Jamyang Choeden performs a modern folk song.

Track 5, “Rime Soldep” (Four Lineages Puja) is a prayer by the monks of Nechung Monastery.

Nechung monks taking a break from the recording and warming up with tea
Nechung monks taking a break from the recording and warming up with tea

Tibetan opera appears on track 6, “Nangsa Woebum” performed by Penpa Tsering.

Track 7, titled “Zandang Palri” features the monks of Nechung Monastery.

“Ayr-sha”, track 8, is a folk song about a majestic mountain pass, performd by Tsering Lodoe.

Track 9 presents “Drelkar,” a well-known spoken performance by Penpa Tsering.

The monks of Nechung Monastery deliver “Losar Puja”, a prayer for the New Year on track 10.

Track 11 is a deghtful Amdo folk song with a galloping rhythm titled “Homage to the Lama” performed by Toenpa Kyap on vocals and guitar and Tsering Lodoe on damyin (Tibetan lute).

On track 12, Tibetan opera returns with a white mask dance called “Tashi Shoelpa” featuring members of the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts.
Tsering Lodoe sings in the next three tracks, “Dopoe Namthar” from the opera Drowa Sangmo, “Norsang Yab Ki Namthar” from the opera Prince Norsang and “Gyalue Namthar”, a stage purification dance.

Track 16 is a refuge puja titkled “Gyun, Chak Sumpa” by the monks of Nechung Monastery.

“Amdo Glory”, track 17 is another Tibetan nomad song by Toenpa Kyap.

The album closes with the spectacular sound of the Tibetan long horns played by the monks of Nechung Monastery.

This wonderful production received support from Stratton-Petit Foundation, Nechung Monastery, Jacques Farasat and Lynne & Tom Tillack.

Buy Men of Dharamsala


Flawless Improvisations on Tibetan Buddhist Hymns

Tsering Tan and Zhang Xiaoyin - The Snow Lotus: Improvisations on Tibetan Buddhist Hymns
Tsering Tan and Zhang Xiaoyin – The Snow Lotus: Improvisations on Tibetan Buddhist Hymns
Tsering Tan and Zhang Xiaoyin

The Snow Lotus: Improvisations on Tibetan Buddhist Hymns (Rhymoi Music, 2014)

Unless you are a hermit just down from the mountain to check your email and music news, the chances are good your day has been bombarded by cheesy jingles or chirpy, happy theme songs, you’ve been personally harassed by unwanted pop music with vocals that sound like those of coked up mice and have marinated in enough industrial, construction and lawn implement noise to send a sedate ascetic on a drug and alcohol fueled, road raged crime spree. I think I can help. What you need is a good, healthy dose of serenity. As luck would have it Rhymoi Music has serenity all wrapped in its release of The Snow Lotus: Improvisations on Tibetan Buddhist Hymns. Featuring vocalist and composer Tsering Tan and harpist Zhang Xiaoyin, The Snow Lotus is a tranquil, breathe-in-breathe-out respite following the Buddhist traditions of Tibet.

Opening with the tones of a bell, The Snow Lotus unfolds with “Supplication to Padmasahava,” before moving into “Calling to the Guru” and “Bodhicitta,” each moving the listener deeper into the musical landscape of Tibet. In addition to Tsering Tan’s soothing vocals and Zhang Xiaoyin’s elegant harp lines, Zhao Xiong adds interconnecting lines on the di (flute), Yang Xue offers up poignantly erhu (spike fiddle), Song Zhao lends cello to the mix while Ma Rui and Dong Miao pepper compositions with percussion. Tungridukmokyi adds her own special flair with female vocals. Tsering Tan proves his own prowess of Tibetan tradition through his own compositions on “The Four Refuges,” “Spiritual Song,” “Supplication to H.H. Jigmey Phuntsok Kharmaraja” and the improvised “Prayer.”

Without being spare, The Snow Lotus allows for each musical element or voice to followed throughout each track, lending the whole a carefully worked, serene feel where every element works toward the whole, where bell, chant and the occasional throb of drum are clear against a backdrop of harp, di, erhu and cello.

Kudos goes to producer Ye Yunchuan for the CD’s balance and quality. While the press material categorizes this in the world music and New Age genres, there’s not one hint of the over-produced, over-worked, fluffy sound one sometimes gets with New Age offerings. The Snow Lotus is a flawless sketch of voice and instrument of the Tibetan musical landscape.

Tsering Tan, Zhang Xiaoyin and company have conjured up a deliciously soothing collection of tracks on The Snow Lotus that is bound to put you on the harmonious path once again.


Tibetan musician Techung Releases Lam La Che

Techung - Lam La Che
Techung – Lam La Che
Tibetan singer-songwriter Techung returns has a new international release titled Lam La Che (On The Road). The album features blues guitarist and vocalist Keb’ Mo’. Techung gave the opening concert for the Dalai Lama’s visit to New Orleans in May of this year at which he performed tracks from this album.

Lam La Che is an album of freedom songs, love songs, and songs celebrating Tibet and the strength of the Tibetan people.

Buy Lam La Che


Tibetan Musician Techung to Open for the Dalai Lama

Tibetan singer and multi-instrumentalist Techung is scheduled to perform at the opening concert for the Dalai Lama’s speech in New Orleans on May 18th, 2013.

Techung and his band were selected to perform at the event in New Orleans’ Lakefront Arena, one of three public events to be held by the Dalai Lama in New Orleans May 16-18.

The performance forms part of Techung’s United States tour, which starts on May 3rd at Skirball Cultural Center, Los Angeles. The Grammy-award-winning musician Keb’ Mo’ may join the band for some of the dates.

Techhg’s discography includes his first solo album “Yarlung: Tibetan Songs of Love and Freedom” (1997) with composer/performer Miguel Frasconi; “Sky Treasure” (2001) with Windham Hill jazz keyboardist Kit Walker; “Changhay: Traditional Tibetan drinking songs, Vol. 1” (1999); and “Nyingtop-Courage” (2002). ARC Music released Techung’s “Songs from Tibet” in 2006. A new album ‘On The Road’ is being released in August 2013.


Paradise Lost Namgyal Lhamo’s Sensational Video

Namgyal Lhamo
Namgyal Lhamo
Tibetan singer Namgyal Lhamo’s latest music video ‘Chang Yare’-Paradise Lost is spellbinding. If you thought that Tibetan music was just about ethereal loops that blended with spiritual chanting or if it was just a hash of contemporary sound and ethnic pop. Shed the blinker!

2007 saw the release of her traditional album "Pure"-which was well taken in by the critics and "The Enchanted Land" -which had its moments with the stunning ‘Changkha’; but here comes the Zenith-Pointer; Netherlands based award winning Tibetan singer Namgyal Lhamo’s latest offering is a thumping portrayal of what talent does to itself when left floating in still waters and finds musical rafts of real pedigree to help drift it ashore.

She is arguably the most gifted Tibetan traditional singer in the world and "The Nightingale of Tibet" has expanded the canvas and teamed with the creative genius of British rockers Marco Pirroni and Chris Constantinou- who are now "The Wolfmen" to create this musical piece which is intriguing, hopeful and at times disturbing. Pirroni (ex Adam and the Ants, Siouxsie and the Banshees) and Chris (De-Niro of the Ants) Constantinou are icons of new wave/post-punk sound and were pioneers of the British Neo-Romantic Art rock movement of the early 80’s.

They score with Lhamo on ‘Chang Yare’ from her upcoming album ‘Highland Supernova’ to create Future-Rock. Intelligent, Progressive and evolved sound that snakes it’s way through the explosive voice of the Tibetan singer to back up a video that speaks truly from the heart. Carefully crafted by Indian filmmaker Arvind Iyer and Produced by Frenchman Achille Forler, ‘Chang Yare’-the video is alternative, gritty and dark. It has its moments of truth!

Lhamo’s singing is emotional, gripping and stark and her control is the hook.
The music video is woven together in a concept that is a sure delusion killer. ‘Chang Yare’ is sensitive yet assertive in it’s treatment and the fabulous Namgyal Lhamo has surely arrived.


Namgyal Lhamo, Tibet Under the Skin

As the struggle for a Free Tibet continues, Netherlands based Tibetan singer Namgyal Lhamo has pushed the cause to the forefront of the artistic community with a music video from her upcoming album ‘Highland Supernova’ which be released in less than a month from now. A week after Namgyal Lhamo hit the headlines with a cover photo that screamed Free Tibet in the Bangkok Post’s magazine "Guru,” the team that was filming the title song "Aalayeah-Highland Supernova" for the new album came up with a concept that has already raised eyebrows across Asia.
 The use of a tattoo to convey a global message engraved on Lhamo’s back is the cause of the stir. The tattoo, designed by award-winning Tibetan/Burmese tattoo artist Khung-Sa reveals itself at the end of the song and pleads “Save Tibet” and more. The song is a break from the "Nightingale of Tibet’s" traditional outing into spaces where hard rock and power pop reign supreme along with her explosive singing.

Described by the producer’s as "the most progressive Tibetan album ever", Highland Supernova is a compilation of 8 songs including the radio edited version of "Changkha" which won Namgyal Lhamo the Best Female artist award at the 2007 International music awards and the runaway hit "Yihong Lhase-Dry Rain" which has intrigued audiences at Lhamo’s recent concerts in Europe. The album is scheduled for a May 2008 release.

In 2007, Lhamo released Pure (Silk Road) and The Enchanted Land (Silk Road).

More information at Namgyal Lhamo

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Tibetan and Navajo-Ute Stillness

R. Carlos Nakai & Nawang Khechog

Winds of Devotion (Sounds True, 2007)

Two of the best known flute players in the world music field, collaborate on Winds of Devotion. Native American R. Carlos Nakai is one of the most prolific American Indian musicians and he is famous for his collaborations with musicians from many other cultures. This time he joins forces with Tibetan musician Nawang Khechog. "I feel that what’s important within culture are the stories and songs that pass freely from one being to another," says Nakai. "In that way we each can offer our personal expressions of being here in a manner that will be of service to one another. It helps too, in keeping the darkness away and brings us more together as a human community all struggling to render fear immobile."

The beauty of the southwestern landscapes emanates from Nakai’s evocative flute, while Kechogg takes us to the highlands of Asia. Winds of Devotion is divided into four lengthy movements that combine Native American and Tibetan folk roots with tranquil meditative passages and soothing Tibetan prayers. The  two flautists are joined by the celebrated cellist David Darling, as well as new age musician Peter Kater, bassist Wade Mathews, percussionist Geoffrey Gordon and vocalist Chris White.

"In our Tibetan tradition we believe that compassion and wisdom are the heart of healing," says Kechogg. "When we become genuinely wise, compassionate, and loving, we start to find and experience a deeper sense of happiness, satisfaction, joy, peace, and stillness within ourselves. Ultimately, this helps heal everyone. On this album my chanting  and music strongly emphasize Tibetan inspirational prayers on wisdom, compassion and, especially universal love."

For a non-electronic chill out album, get a copy of this beautiful CD.

Buy Winds of Devotion


Namgyal Lhamo’s Second Coming

Namgyal Lhamo
Namgyal Lhamo
As ethnic Tibetans across the globe get ready to celebrate Losar-Tibetan New Year in February 2008, Netherlands based Tibetan singer/songwriter Namgyal Lhamo gets ready for a double flight to accentuate the celebrations.

Signed to Deep Emotions/Universal Music publishing, the artist popularly known, as "The Nightingale of Tibet" presents her traditional album "Anthology" a collection of timeless, classic, traditional Tibetan songs that promise to be a collector’s item alongside "Highland Supernova", a flipside to the first and a blazing compilation of 8 tracks that are crafted to cut across cultures, age groups and mindsets with the plush use of explosive guitar riffs and organic house sound against traditional Tibetan singing. 2007 was a great year for Lhamo as her albums Pure (Silk Road) and The Enchanted Land (Silk Road) opened to rave reviews and she was voted the "Best female solo artist from India/Tibet at the 2007 International Music Awards.

Lhamo states, "Both albums are sides of the same coin, though they possess great international appeal and feel; they shall always remain embedded firmly in my roots that are proudly Tibetan."

A worthy wait for Asian world music lovers as this immensely talented First Lady of Tibetan singing promises to deliver path-breaking sounds along with her great voice.

More information at Namgyal Lhamo and www.myspace.com/namgyallhamo.