The Mystical Arts of Tibet brings messages of peace and awareness through hypnotic song.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Since Adam Yauch’s death on May 4, the Buddhist monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery – whose Mystical Arts of Tibet show visits Sunset Center on Saturday – have included him each night in their prayers.
The Beastie Boy was a longtime advocate for the Tibetan independence movement and his Tibet Freedom Concerts often included performances by the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
“We are very saddened to lose one of our best friends,” says Tsepak Rigzin, assistant program director at Drepung Loseling Monastery Inc. “We officially responded to [Yauch’s] family with prayers and condolences.”
According to Tibetan tradition, the prayers occur until the 49th day from his death, which is when Tibetan Buddhists believe reincarnation takes place.
“It’s important to have as many supporters as we can especially if they’re well-known public like [Yauch], who help gain support for us,” Rigzin says.
Over the years, the Mystical Arts of Tibet haven’t had too difficult of a time gaining famous supporters: They’ve shared stages with Philip Glass, Paul Simon, Patti Smith and Michael Stipe. They hope to touch everybody who experiences the ancient Tibetan art traditions. Robed in vibrantly colored garb, the monks’ performances feature traditional instruments – including bells, cymbals, 10-foot long dung-chen horns and gyaling trumpets – and multiphonic singers exuding otherworldly sounds that bring messages of peace, healing and harmony. The echoes of the chants blend together like paints on a canvas.
“The show also helps preserve our culture and create awareness about the current situation in Tibet,” Rigzin says. “We hope the program inspires an interest in people to want to learn more about the culture.”
Though they enjoy an official endorsement from the Dalai Lama, the nonprofit group is self-sufficient, relying on appearance fees music and mandala sand painting performances.
“They’re doing it not only to serve the monastery but also the community at large,” Rigzin says.
There are two groups of nine monks (and one driver) who alternate between studying and touring, which can sometimes last up to two years. But spending so much time on the road is just a means to an end for these dedicated souls.
“When we bring awareness about Tibet it is not necessarily about bringing awareness only to Tibet,” Rigzin says. “It’s about bringing peace and harmony to everyone.”
From 5-7pm on Friday, there will be a pre-performance reception, free and open to the public, in the Marjorie Evans Gallery at the Sunset Center. Several Drepung Loseling Monastery monks will be on hand sharing images featuring spiritually and culturally noteworthy subjects. On the night of the performance, ticket holders are invited to a 6:45pm lecture with Drepung Loseling Monks’ spokesperson at Studio 105.
THE MYSTICAL ARTS OF TIBET happens at 8pm Saturday, June 9, at Sunset Center, San Carlos at Ninth, Carmel. $30; $40; $50. 620-2048.