Another amazing arts opportunity here in our neighborhood: Yungchen Lhamo in concert at Dragonfly Yoga Barn in North Sandwich, NH, this Sunday, May 31st, at 3 p.m. Given the name "The Voice of Tibet" by the Dalai Lama himself, Yungchen is traveling all the way from Tibet to participate in Dragonfly Yoga’s Rei Ki Gong training and will be performing here at the close of the weekend! This is a RARE OPPORTUNITY to experience a performer whose voice is like nothing you’ve ever heard--utterly beautiful. (Scroll down for Yungchen's bio.) Dragonfly has only just received confirmation of her coming to Sandwich, so they are working with limited time to get the word out. Please spread the word! Dragonfly Yoga is asking for a donation of at least $15, the proceeds of which support women and children in Tibet via a humanitarian organization that Yunchen works in conjunction with; the sale of her CDs also support this cause.
From Yungchen's website:
Since fleeing Tibet on foot in 1989, Yungchen Lhamo has emerged as the leading Tibetan vocalist on the world stage. From the quays of Sydney, Australia to the spotlight of Carnegie Hall, her a cappella performances have enchanted audiences in more than 70 countries since she began touring professionally in 1994.
Yungchen's name was given to her by a Tibetan lama when she was a baby and translates to "Goddess of Melody and Song." Since the release of her award-winning first album Tibetan Prayer, her music has met with critical praise worldwide, alternately described as "beautifully evocative," "mesmerizing," "spine-tingling," and "transcendent." Her songs take listeners on an emotive journey across plateaus and soaring over vistas, with a charge and a charisma no doubt informed by her remarkable life story.
Born in a labor camp outside Lhasa in Chinese-occupied Tibet, Yungchen began working in a carpet-weaving factory at the age of five. Tibetan singing was one of many customs banned by the Cultural Revolution, which began violently in Tibet in 1959. It was in this inhospitable setting that her grandmother taught Yungchen the devotional singing she has shared with audiences around the world.
At the end of a dangerous 1,000-mile escape across the Himalayas, Yungchen arrived in India, where she visited numerous Tibetan refugee camps and had the opportunity to meet the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Recognizing the ability in Yungchen's performances, he encouraged her to go and share with western people the richness of Tibetan culture through the beauty of her voice.
"When I left Tibet, I lost everything," Yungchen recalls. "The one thing I didn't lose was my voice. And this I carried with me to the West."
In concert, Yungchen performs with almost no music accompaniment, so that the focus of the audience's attention fixes on the pliant tonal qualities of her inimitable voice. Dressed in cream-colored Tibetan silk, with orange cuffs, turquoise jewelry and hair cascading below her waist, Yungchen casts a regal presence onstage that one journalist described as "more like a head of state than [a] musician on her first trip to America."
Onstage, Yungchen's eyes search deep into the audience, as if recalling some distant melody, with notes emanating from a powerful center to the far reaches of the venue in what reviewers have aptly termed "a voice from the skies." Her songs explore traditional Tibetan themes of spiritual pilgrimage, soul-searching and a delight in the natural environment. For example, lines from the song "Par Panee Dawa Shar" from the album Tibet, Tibet intone:
There where the moon rises Reminds me of my lama's face Remembering your kindness I make offerings of song and dance
Since being signed to Peter Gabriel's Real World Records label, Yungchen has released two critically-acclaimed albums, Tibet, Tibet and Coming Home (produced by Hector Zazou). Her music has appeared on Natalie Merchant's platinum-selling Ophelia, the compilation disc Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music, on the soundtrack to the Hollywood film Seven Years in Tibet, and in a handful of documentaries. Yungchen was one of the Real World artists featured in a recent one-hour music television special by National Geographic called Songs Under a Big Sky. The show was produced and directed by Michael Coulson, who also directed Yungchen's first music video, "Happiness Is."
Yungchen has also performed in support of many Tibet organizations, including Tibet House New York, The Milarepa Fund, Students For a Free Tibet, Tibet Relief Fund, Australian Tibet Council, The Dalai Lama Trust New Zealand, AIPLP, the Pema Tsal School in India and for such aid groups as Amnesty International, Walk Against Want, Reebok Human Rights Awards, IUCN and Survival International. At such events, she has performed alongside a variety of luminaries, including Philip Glass, Annie Lennox, Michael Stipe and Sheryl Crow.
Yungchen is currently at work on her much-awaited fourth album, in what promises to be the next chapter in an already exquisite musical career.
Yungchen Lhamo now lives and makes music in New York City.