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Sacred Ceremonies: Ritual Music of Tibetan Buddhism

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Album Review

Recording artist and producer David Parsons went to Dharamsala, India, in 1989 to record these monks for a project he was working on. He later decided to release their chants in original form. Released in 1990, this is the first volume of material. (There were two more volumes released later.) The material heard on this album came from three digital recording sessions. By the time of the second session, the monks had been rehearsing in preparation. The sound is unique, created by a circular breathing technique in order to produce a continuous tone, and accompanied by various traditional wind and percussion instruments. There are comprehensive liner notes detailing the origins of the project, the various musical instruments, and the significance of the pieces. This particular monastery is known for a unique low-pitched singing style called gya me. The monks got so into recording that they persuaded the 70-year-old Abbot of the monastery, Kalsang Norbu, to lead the chants on the last track, "Dedications in Verses." The results make for an interesting and educational listen, but for most Western listeners, the hour-plus presented here is more than one would ever need.


Formed: Unknown

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s

The ritual chanting of the Monks of Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery traces back to the 18th century when the monks' original monastery was founded in Tibet. Forced to relocate in Dharamsala, a small village in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Tibetan Buddhist group consists of 40 monks and students. In 1989, producer David Parsons and his wife, Kay, paid three visits to the monastery to record the monks' ritual music. Two albums co-produced with Ven. Thupten Nyandak, Sacred Ceremonies Ritual Music...
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