Khashyar | September 22, 2011
To whom it may concern,
On September 24th, 2011 is the first annual Historic Global Event – 100 Thousand Poets for Change currently with 600 events happening in 450 cities and 95 countries. I am writing to let the Tibetan community know, through Tibetan radio and media outlets, of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change Tibet Awareness Event in Pasadena, California on Saturday, September 24th. Techung, a renowned Tibetan musician who has opened for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Sherap Wangmo, and Michel Tyabi will be performing their music at the event. Poetry by influential Tibetan poets Tsoltim N. Shakabpa, Tenzin Tsundue, Tsering Dhompa, Jigme Dorjee DAGYAP, and Woeser will be read at the event. Los Angeles Friends of Tibet will also be at the event distributing information to raise awareness.
We are happy to provide moral support for the Tibetan community around the world and inside of Tibet through the event. I am writing to set up interviews for Techung la to talk about this historic event and the world movement of poets, musicians, and artists to raise awareness for a free Tibet.
Here is the homepage for 100 Thousand Poets for Change http://www.bigbridge.org/100thousandpoetsforchange/
Here is the page for the Pasadena Event http://www.bigbridge.org/100thousandpoetsforchange/?p=112
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
Teresa Chuc Dowell
100 Thousand Poets for Change
Teresa.dowell (at) goddard (dot) edu
100 Thousand Poets for Change: Tibet Awareness Event, Pasadena, CA
The event will take place on Saturday, September 24, 2011 at Zona Rosa Caffe (15 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101) from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. There will be poetry readings, open mic, discussions, music, art, and much more! http://www.zonarosacaffe.com/ 100 Thousand Poets for Change event homepage www.100TPC.ORG
Pasadena event page http://www.bigbridge.org/100thousandpoetsforchange/?p=112 The 100 Thousand Poets for Change Tibet Awareness Event will focus on human rights, freeing Tibet, and the plight of the Tibetan people. To raise awareness, there will be discussions, poetry readings, Tibetan art, music, Tibetan Buddhism, open mic, and speakers. Poems by Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan poet/writer/activist who lives in Dharmasala, will be read by others at the event. Poems by Tsoltim N. Shakabpa, a recognized Tibetan poet/activist living in Los Angeles, will be read by others at the event. Due to a recent stroke, Mr. Shakabpa can not make it to the event. Tsoltim N. Shakabpa is a recognized Tibetan poet and a dedicated political activist for a free Tibet. He is the son of Tsepon Wabgchuk Deden Shakabpa, the eminent Tibetan historian, statesman, freedom fighter and former Finance Minister of independent Tibet. Poems from Tibetan poetess Tsering Dhompa’s new book, My rice tastes like the lake, will be read by others at the event. Poems by Tibetan poet Jigme Dorjee DAGYAP, who lives in Gangtok, Sikkim, will be read at the event. Poems from Woeser’s new book Tibet’s True Heart will be read at the event. Tibetan musician, singer/songwriter, Techung, who has opened for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s public speeches in Costa Rica, Japan, and the U.S., will be performing at the event. Tibetan musician and dancer, Sherap Wangmo Sangpo, and Tibetan musician Michel Tyabi will also be performing. There will also be a Buddhist prayer/chanting for peace. Om mani padme hum.
Join us for this historic event!
Contact Teresa at: Teresa.dowell (at) goddard (dot) edu for more information.
Khashyar | September 20, 2010
Michel Tyabji’s muisc featured in “Eat Pray Love”
Music can reach beyond the whirring activity of our minds and stir the spirit within us. Films strive to fuse this musical pleasure with each scene and tug at our emotions. In a film like “Eat Pray Love,” our eyes feast on the rich scenery, while our ears are filled with the sounds and music of Italy, India, and Bali.
Michel Tyabji is one of the artists that helped to bring such musical richness to the scenes of the film “Eat Pray Love.” Tyabji is a preformer, composer, sound engineer and co-owner of Limitless Sky Records.
“I learned from many others that by making music you can help stir the kind and generous spirit,” Tyabji says. Born in India, Tyabji’s story demonstrates how the combination of a humble spirit, a little luck, a great deal of skill, and a guiding family can intertwine to put you in a place where you never expected to be, but is wondrous when you look around.
Tyabji’s parents worked for UNICEF and as a result, he has lived in Bhutan, India, Yemen, Somalia, Tanzania, the UK, and currently the United States. “I can do other things, but I always end up back to the music. When everything went crazy in Somalia, it was the music that helped bring us together.” Tyabji draws from the sounds of these lands in the film scores he composes.
“Music in film can be a real mix-up, an ideal playground for a musical chameleon,” Tyabji says.
Tyabji shows his changeable colors in “Dali Lama Renaissance.” The film, produced and directed by Khashyar Darvich of the The Wakan Foundation for the Arts is a documentary with narration by Harrison Ford. The film shows what happened when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet invited 40 Western leaders and thinkers to his home in the Himalyas. Tyabji’s soundtrack dipped into a broad palate of world music, bringing together musicians of different cultures and styles to create a beautiful meditation on His Holiness’s message of peace.
Tyabji has family roots in music and community activism. His great grandfather was one of the lawyers who helped shape India’s constitution and his great-cousin Rehana Tyabji was a Muslim singer of Hindu Devotional Songs, favored by Bapu Gandhi.
Rehana’s influence has trickled down the generations to Michel Tyabji, whose quest to find recordings of his relative’s voice lead him to work on “Eat Pray Love”.
In 1933 Rehana’s voice was captured on wax cylinders by the great ethnomusicologist Arnold Bake. The Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv released a compilation of these recordings in 2000. Tyabji wanted to make a copy of the recordings to share with his family, but was unable to persuade the Berlin Phonogramm-Archiv to give him access. After relegating the quest to a distant to-do list, Tyabji met Nazir Jairazbhoy and Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, ethnomusicologists with “a list of accomplishments so long that it seems implausible to do so much in one lifetime.” Nazir Jairazbhoy had grown up next to the Tyabjis in India. His new friends were glad to show Tyabji the recordings of Rehana in their own library.
When Sony was searching for appropriate music to accompany the two ashram scenes in the movie “Eat Pray Love”, they consulted Amy Catlin-Jairazbhoy, who directed them to Tyabji. The scenes had originally been recorded with singing from the ashram in New York, but without the rights to the music, Sony was in need of sound to accompany the chanting and swaying ashram devotees. Tyabji wrote twelve pieces, and six of these were used in the film.
“Actors move and sing along in these scenes,” Tyabji explains, “so all the music and lyrics had to work for picture.” For example, in the New York Ashram scene a close up of James Franco singing meant that his lip movements needed to plausibly match with the words of the bhajan.
The singers in Tyabji’s recordings are friends and family. “They better resemble a congregation of devotees than a group of professional singers” Tyabji says. Traditional instruments accompany the energetic voices: tabla, tanpura, harmonium, castanets, bells, and finger cymbals. Collaborators Hemant Ekbote played the tabla and Kito Rodriguez played acoustic guitar and sang.
Music creates moments where the world can be calm, and it is this spirit that Tyabji seeks. “The best times I can recall are when music is happening” Tyabji says, “In those moments, time itself is irrelevant. One becomes addicted to those moments.”
Om Cumbia Om: The Liberating Message of the Dalai Lama Finds Deep Global Resonance on the Dalai Lama Renaissance Soundtrack
Khashyar | May 17, 2010
Om Cumbia Om: The Liberating Message of the Dalai Lama Finds Deep Global Resonance on the Dalai Lama Renaissance Soundtrack
There’s a sanctuary where the pulse of cumbia moves to Tibetan notions of eternal time, where Native American and Indian sonics transform the voice of a female Sufi from Iran. A retreat where one of the planet’s most revered teachers’ words become a melody, and the message dances in the medium.
This place, created in a cozy home studio in the L.A. hills, is the home of the striking soundtrack to the documentary film Dalai Lama Renaissance (White Swan; May 11, 2010). The film follows the journey of some of the world’s most distinctive thinkers—from nuclear physicists to self-help experts, with narration by actor Harrison Ford—to see the Dalai Lama at his Indian home-in-exile and discuss a way to freedom for Tibet and humanity. The release is timed with the Dalai Lama’s May 12-23 speaking tour of the United States. The soundtrack flows from the voluntary contribution of a diverse yet serendipitously harmonious group of musical fellow travelers brought together by percussionist and producer Michel Tyabji.
Tyabji set out to accomplish the impossible: the creation of a score and soundtrack for a feature-length film worthy of the subject matter, without a budget. Yet this very hindrance proved to be the project’s strength. “The most affirming thing about this project was that it attracted certain types of people,” Tyabji notes, recalling how artists came out of the cyberspace woodwork wanting to advance the Dalai Lama’s message. “No one had any money but we didn’t have a firm schedule, either. We had time.”
With that time, musicians could come and linger in Tyabji’s home studio over cup after cup of tea, letting their inspiration carry them. Or Tyabji could meet them wherever they happened to be in the L.A. area, as he did with Grammy-winning guitarist Larry Mitchell. They connected at a nearby hotel where, on the fly, Mitchell effortlessly laid down a solo on Tyabji’s thumbdrive.
The musicians drawn to the project were a seemingly motley crew: Composer Medicine Bear, who provided large portions of original score; a group of brothers cum classical Indian musicians recruited by an American keyboard player (The Yoginis) and recorded at a rented New Delhi TV station; Heyraneh, a rare female Sufi vocalist from Tehran; and the multitalented Techung, a Tibetan born in exile and trained in traditional Tibetan lhamo opera.
Despite the great spread of sounds and cultures, as Tyabji worked on the tracks and unified them to support the film, he was pleasantly surprised. “I was actually shocked how easily things gelled: traditional Indian, underneath or on top of Afro-Cuban beats, blended with a Tibetan song on the computer,” Tyabji reflects. “We didn’t have to do any fancy stuff. It just came together in a perfect match up of tracks.”
Pieces like “Yar,” where the original plan to record Heyraneh singing a Zoroastrian prayer passed down through Tyabji’s Parsi family turned a magical corner when the singer burst into a Sufi invocation, transforming the track. Or the unexpected “Om Cumbia Om,” where Techung’s expansive recitation of a Buddhist mantra with its own sense of time ended up meshing with an intense Afro-Latin rhythm whipped up by two Colombian percussionist friends.
Even older projects—like a recording Tyabji and his wife and frequent collaborator Rosa had made of the last living teacher of Tibetan chöd chants—worked seamlessly with the material his new-found friends were laying down in the studio. “Rosa and I had recorded Lama Wangdu Rinpoche at an ashram near Portland, Oregon,” recalls Tyabji. “It became an album for use by his students, with really limited distribution. But then it took on a new life as I brought it into the mix.”
Yet the lucky accidents channeling the eclecticism of Dalai Lama Renaissance had deep roots: the calls for peace, freedom, and compassion of the Dalai Lama himself. Though of a different faith, Tyabji felt a profound resonance with His Holiness’ teachings. Descended from a distinguished family including a vocalist favored by Gandhi and a dedicated politician who shaped India’s constitution, Tyabji’s elders instilled a love of wise teachers and the non-violent path to liberation.
He soon learned for himself how music could play a part in that liberation. Tyabji came of age traveling the world with his parents, UN workers who took on some of the world’s most difficult assignments. One of these challenging postings took the family to Somalia, where a teenage Tyabji watched the desperately poor country slip into a devastating civil war.
“I saw that music and poetry held together whatever semblance of society was left,” he muses. “Just having a battery-powered walkman saved us. There was something that made a little bit of sense. There was certainty in the beat, the lyrics. That’s when I got into music, in Africa, and understood its power.”
This power to move, encourage, and heal, Tyabji feels, also lies in the words and voice of the Dalai Lama, which he interwove throughout the soundtrack album. The task of picking and choosing the words seemed daunting at first—until he began to hear the music in His Holiness’ message. After spending years trying to find the right fit with the music, Tyabji discovered to his surprise that the passages that he felt most strongly were the ones where the tone and cadence meshed best.
“For me, his most powerful message, the one that repeats on the album like a mantra, is that each of us is personally responsible to think about humanity, other human beings,” Tyabji states. “For someone who has lived in so many different countries, who’s lived through wars, who was fortunate to be born into a family that cares, I know this is what we all need to think about: each other.”
The accidental meetings and fortunate breaks involved in the making of the album are still bearing fruit. Tyabji has teamed up with Techung and their tours have taken them as far away as European Russia’s oft-overlooked Buddhist region, Kalmykia. Heyraneh’s participation in the project has moved her out of the margins, where she was relegated due to her gender, and into the local spotlight, as the L.A. Persian community embraces her artistry.
Tyabji senses that this joint effort based on a mutual love for the Dalai Lama’s message is like one of the Tibetan songs Techung brought to the project, “Lhasang.” The singer calls out to the mountains, hoping to hear what the echoes may bring. “That song embodies what we were doing with this album,” Tyabji smiles. “We were singing out to a stone wall and just waiting to hear what happens.”
Semshae-Heart Songs CD Release Tour – Tibet CD, featuring Tashi Shazur (Techung) released to help Tibetan children learn their language
Khashyar | May 17, 2010
Semshae-Heart Songs CD Release Tour
The new Semshae-Heart Songs album is comprised of contemporary and traditional Tibetan songs composed especially to help children learn some basic vocabulary of the Tibetan language. The songs teach the Tibetan numbers, colors, days of the week, and seasons, and convey cultural information about daily chores, visiting a temple, gardens, musical instruments, and peace. The CD notes provide the song lyrics in Tibetan script, phonetic Tibetan, and English translation, so children of any cultural background can sing along. The primary goal of this charming album is to ensure that Tibet’s language and culture of compassion are preserved through children’s music for all ages.
Semshae-Heart Songs will be officially released in New York City at Tibet House on May 22, 2010. The release is scheduled in conjunction with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit. The first copy will be offered to His Holiness to receive His blessing. Project founder and director, Tashi D. Sharzur (a.k.a Techung) will then conduct a CD Release Tour to introduce the CD to Tibetan communities in North America, Europe and Asia. Tashi’s tour schedule can be viewed by clicking “Upcoming Events” on Semshae’s website (http://www.semshae.org).
Tibetan Association of Southern California will organize the CD release party and community fundraising event on June 12 from 6-9p.m. to help their Sunday School education project. Tashi and the local Tibetan community children will sing songs from the new album, and he will be available to sign CDs. This event will take place at IBEW 8333 Airport Blvd, LA CA 90045. The cover charge is $20.00 Children under 16 free. For more info about the Tibetan community visit www.socaltibet.org
Many individuals are aware of Tibetan Buddhism’s culture of compassion and nonviolence, but they may not be aware that the continued existence of Tibetan culture is seriously threatened. Through music, Semshae – a non-political, privately funded project— contributes to the preservation of a part of Tibet’s culture and its dissemination around the world.
Semshae-Heart Songs will also be a welcome addition to the small library of Tibetan music for the many Westerners who are interested in Tibet and Tibetan culture. Exposing non-Tibetan children to the language and culture of a nation whose spiritual belief system emphasizes the happiness and well being of each human can be of benefit to today’s computer/cell phone-driven generation. This is the first album of its kind produced professionally in the West or anywhere in the Tibetan exile community.
Tashi Sharzur is a Tibetan traditional/contemporary singer who grew up in Tibetan refugee camps in Dharamsala, India and now lives with his daughters in the Bay Area, California. His parents followed the Dalai Lama into exile after the Communist invasion of his native country, Tibet, in 1959. His parents and many thousands of refugees searching for work and better life were hired by Indian government to build roads across the Himalayan region. Tashi, like many other children, was born in these makeshift refugee camps at a very difficult time. As Tibetan refugees gradually settled in India, the exiled Tibetan government, with guidance and support from Indian Government, built schools and monasteries. Tashi was sent to the Tibetan Dance and Drama School to learn music and folklore. After moving to United States to join a theatrical group, he co-founded Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company and was the artistic director till 2008. He also worked with the Milarepa Foundation in the 1990s and was involved in organizing its Tibetan Freedom Concerts and grassroots campaigns. He has made 7 albums of folk and contemporary Tibetan music, and recently performed at Carnegie Hall.
“It is my hope that through the efforts of Semshae
and through the power of music I can help to support
the next generation of Tibetans and the Tibetan culture.”
— Tashi Shazur, Artist, Founder, and Director of Semshae
Khashyar | February 18, 2010
The Soundtrack CD to the Dalai Lama Renaissance is now available for purchase, here: www.DalaiLamaCD.com
An original musical mosaic embodying the experiences and universal truths the Dalai Lama personifies. Tibetan, Indian, Sufi, Jazz and Afro-Cuban music overlaid with pearls of wisdom in the Dalai Lama’s own words and with the voice of Harrison Ford.
“…fascinating, ravishingly beautiful and sonically soothing…” – John Griffin – Montreal Gazette
A Review from L.A. Yoga magazine:
Febuary 15, 2010
This important album was assembled and produced by Michel Tyabji and Rosa Costanza Tyabji as part of a documentary titled Dalai Lama Renaissance. The soundtrack album consists of twenty-six tracks of Tibetan-influenced chants and pieces of music that work as a perfect audio accompaniment to the visual images of the Dalai Lama. Each offering on this album is part of a collective providing a narrative that is overwhelmingly beautiful, compassionate and enlightened. There are numerous amazing artists on this collection and if you are a devotee, or just a supporter of the Dalai Lama’s journey, this album is a must-have.
Producer, music director and performer on many pieces, Tyabji has appeared playing drums and percussion throughout the world and is known for his work with legendary African artists including Ndala Kasheba and Garikayi Trikoti. Tyabiji is only one of many exceptional artists here, in the company of Larry Mitchell, Ralph “Kito” Rodriguez and composer, keyboardist and arranger Henry Medicine Bear Reid, all of whom produce music worth a listen. Tibetan singer/songwriter Techung plays traditional Tibetan instruments and prayers for the Dalai Lama on instrumental tracks and Roop Verma offers an inspired “Alap,” along with other gorgeous tracks. In “Bassant Blue,” and “Jog Jazz,” the New Delhi-based ensemble called Yoginis’ deep thoughtful drones were produced by Seattle-based composer Yogi McCaw. Also noteworthy, Lama Tsering Wangdu Rinpoche had me in tears with his delivery of “Lady of Great Bliss.”
Along with many of the musical tracks offered on this special CD, the listener can also enjoy hearing the words of His Holiness which helps to bring his message of “hope” home. I highly recommend this album for anyone interested in world music and a follower of the Dalai Lama’s journey throughout the world and hopefully back into his homeland someday soon. www.DalaiLamaCD.com .