Tibetan Monks of The Tashi Lhunpo Monastery
Founded by the First Dalai Lama in 1447, Tashi Lhunpo is one of the four great monasteries of the Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat) tradition, and is renowned for its scholarship in Mahayana Buddhist Philosophy and the Tantric tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Chinese occupation of Tibet in 1959 and the Cultural Revolution from 1966-80 wreaked destruction on the great monastic institutions, including Tashi Lhunpo, which lost many of the precious scriptures, statues and images. Of the 6,000 monks in the monastery, only 250 were able to follow the Dalai Lama into exile, and in 1972, under the patronage of the present Dalai Lama, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery was re-established in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Occupying a central position in the Tibetan settlement of Bylakuppe, the monastery is now home to 300 monks, and has once again regained its reputation as an important centre for learning and for the preservation of the culture and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Time of the Skeleton Lords is the fourth album from the monks of Tashi Lhunpo Monastery and their second 30IPS release following 2008's Dawn Till Dusk, which was lauded by the Rough Guide to World Music as "Exhilarating multi-layered rhythmic recitation of chants: a shimmering monument of polyphonic sonority." The new album was recorded on location in India, and features sacred Tibetan prayers and ritual music marking the great cycle of life, death and rebirth – the journey of the consciousness through the Bardo, according to Tibetan Buddhist traditions.
Eight Tibetan monks present an exciting performance of sacred masked dance from their New Year festival, interspersed with the mesmerising chant and music of the Buddhist monastic tradition. The dramatic dances, taken from the Gutor Festival before Tibetan Losar (New Year), use colourful costumes and masks. With instruments from the ancient tantric tradition - long horns, bells, cymbals and skull drums - as well as the atmospheric calm of traditional chanting and prayers, the monks evoke the unique atmosphere of their monastery. With introductions to the performance, this show can be enjoyed by all, while providing an insight into the endangered culture of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monks have performed in theatres, arts centres and village halls all over the UK and Europe, and have been in residence at a number of festivals including Glastonbury, WOMAD, Cheltenham, Musicport and Larmer Tree amongst others (and even a guest appearance in Loxfest from The Archers alongside the Pet Shop Boys in 2014), where they have been a very popular addition to the programme. They have recorded a number of CDs, and have had their music broadcast on radio and television on many occasions.
Tashi Lhunpo Monks Official Website: tashi-lhunpo.org.uk
Wisdom & Insight Official Microsite: 30ips.com/tashilhunpomonks/
“Beautiful and captivating”
“A timely release”
Observer Music Monthly
“A psychedelic whirl of chanting, dancing, drums and cymbals”
“A magical universe of reincarnation and release”