A dear friend of mine has recently passed away in England. Her name was Anne Jennings Brown.
We used to call her Anne-la out of respect. Anne-la came to Dharamsala in 1982. She was a tall and elegant English lady, in her fifties, visiting the Tibetan community for the very first time. She came up to Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) and decided to help the school and live with us. She became part of our artistic family. At that time I didn’t know much about her life in England, but when I visited her website, I learned a lot about her and her life before coming to India. Here is her website http://www.skywalkinglife.com/
Anne-la lived among us never complaining a single day about the harsh reality of our refugee artistic life. I remember her drawing a lot and also writing. Here are few drawings from her website http://user29889.vs.easily.co.uk/?page_id=774 She had an ease in drawing everything from our costumes to the first Tibetan pictorial map. During special occasions she would dress in traditional Tibetan dress, or Chuba. She looked gorgeous and elegant.
Apart from teaching, and helping at the Institute, Anne-la was responsible for generating funds to build a Tibetan culture school dormitory. This project was initiated by then TIPA director, Jamyang Norbu la. The vision for the school was to house children who would receive a full education and become the future artists of TIPA. Her family and community’s generosity wasn’t limited only to TIPA but to numerous other Tibetan charitable organization in exile. She had written a boon on Tibet called “Living Tibet” A diary about her visit to India and Tibetan community. You can read an extract from the book here. http://user29889.vs.easily.co.uk/?page_id=250
I want to send our deepest condolences to Anne-la and her family. May she be reborn again as a kind, adventurous, compassionate lady like she was in this lifetime. She was truly a mother, a great artist and a humanitarian.
Om Mani Padme Hum!
In 2012, Anne-sent me this email:
“My dear Tashi,
How wonderful to hear from you and to see the picture of you looking so splendid with your band – most impressive! I so wish I could be in the audience to hear and see you again.
I wonder if you will ever come to England?”
Anne-la, Sorry that we couldn’t put together a tour to visit you and your family. I do promise that one day, we will visit your town and dedicate a concert in your memory. We will miss you.
དེ་རིང་སེམས་པ་སྐྱིད་པོ་ཡོད། ངའི་གནས་ཚང་ཕ་མ་གཉིས་ནས་དེ་རིང་ཁྱིམ་ཚང་ཆེད་གཡང་འགུག་ཞབས་རིམ་གནང་རྒྱུ་་སྐུ་ཞབས་བཀྲིས་སྟོབས་རྒྱལ་ལགས་ཆེད་ཕེབས་གནང་སོང་། ད་ནང་དབྱངས་ཅན་ལགས་དང་ཉི་མ་ལགས་གཉིས་ལ་སྒྲ་སྙན་འཛིན་གྲ་ཞིག་འཁྲིད་གཉིས་ཀས་དོ་སྣང་ཆེན་པོ་གནང་སོང་།། རང་ཉིད་ནི་རོལ་དབྱངས་ཀྱི་བྱ་ཞག་ཐོག་མི་ཚེ་སྐྱལ་མཁན་ཞིག་ཡིན་པས་དུས་ཡུན་གང་རིང་པོར་འབྲོག་པ་ལྟར་གནས་སྤོས་ནས་འགྲོ་བས་སྐབས་སུ་ཉེ་གྲོགས་རྣམས་ཀྱི་མཐུན་རྐྱེན་རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་གནང་བར་རང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་བསོད་ནམས་ཡིན་པ་དང་། འདིར་ཡང་་ཁྱིམ་ཚང་གཅིག་གི་མི་ལྟ་བུར་གཟིགས་སྐྱོང་གང་ལེགས་གནང་སོང་བར་བསྟན་འཛིན་རྡོ་རྗེ་ལགས་ནང་མི་ལྷན་རྒྱས་ལ་བཀྲིན་ཆེ་ཞུ་རྒྱུ། སང་ཉིན་འདི་ནས་ནིའུ་ཡོག་དང་དེ་རྗེས་ཀེ་ལེ་ཕོ་ནི་ཡར་བུ་ཕྲུག་ཐུགས་འཕྲད་དུ་འགྲོ་འཆར་ཡིན།
learning to string Dramnyne
Yangchen la and Nyima la
What a great day. Pujas with Lama Tashi Topgyal, great meal, jekuzee, singing and dancing and friendship.
Tenzin Dorjee la and his family have become my extended family here in Plattsburgh. I enjoyed staying here so much that I changed all my plans. I have been here since we finished our concert on March 7th with my band.
As I travel around the world, family like Dorjee give me strength and inspiration to go on do my music. Besides their family and business, they had also organized Tibetan festivals and events locally and have kept the Tibet connection with the locals here.
Last night I was practicing my music in my room. Tenzin la came by and started to dance to my music. Then he said, why not bring the music to the living room. Well, I plugged in my Dramnyen and we started dancing and singing, of course with some wine till wee hours.
I have been also giving Dramnyen lessons to Yangchen la and Nyima la. They are an inspiring students. This morning we had a monk guest from Kingston, NY. Lama Tsering Tashi is here to do a Puja for the family. This is a very traditional ritual in the Tibetan family to bring harmony and prosperity. The monk set up his shrine and started the puja this morning. This reminds me of the time when I was young in Dharamsala where we hear the chanting and music from different homes. Well this is so much fun to have all these experience in this remote town in NY. I feel blessed too.
Tomorrow I will be heading down to NY and the then fly to San Francisco to visiting my daughters and my good old friend Caitano Remediuos, my old house mate. I am looking forward to it.
Enjoy these photos at home today.
I’ve had the pleasure of accompanying my Tibetan friends and hosts to their children’s concert, in Plattsburgh. Their daughter and son were part of the youth orchestra, the Adirondack Youth Orchestra. For someone like me, who didn’t have much of Western music school experience, it was indeed a great experience. I found it inspiring to see how in this culture, children are encouraged when they are little. The students played very well in solo and as part of an orchestra, and I was also amazed at the Plattsburgh community’s (and of course the parents’) support towards music and art.
During the concert, one of the music teachers, Kate Bullack, announced that her students would be performing my piece Snow Lion of Peace. They had also made a short video which we showed during my concert in Plattsburgh on March 7th.
Kate was so kind to acknowledge me in the audience, and surprised me when she announced the Association would be making a donation to my Tibetan Music Preservation Project. I was so surprised by their kind gesture, it touched my heart. Thank you Kate Bullack and Adirondack Youth Orchestra Association for your kind donation (they donated $115 from their fundraising event).
༄༅།། ཁ་སང་འདི་ག་པེ་ལེ་སེ་སྦག་ཏུ་ཕྲན་གྱི་གནས་ཚང་སྦྱིན་བདག་ནང་མིའི་བུ་དང་བོུ་ གཉིས་ནས་སློབ་གྲའི་རོལ་དབྱངས་གཟིགས་མོ་ཞིག་འབུལ་སོང་བས་དེར་བཅར། དེ་གར་ཕྲུ་གུ་ལོ་སྣ་ ༡༠ ནས་༡༧།༡༨ བར་གྱི་སློབ་མ་ཕལ་ཆེར་༥༠་སྐོར་ནས་ཕྱི་རྒྱལ་གྱི་རོལ་མོ་འདྲ་མིན་བཏོང་གནང་གི་ ཕྲུ་གུའི་ཕ་མ་དང་ས་ཁུལ་མི་མང་རྣམས་པས་དགའ་བསུ་ཆེན་པོ་ཞུས་སོང་། གཞོན་ནུ་འདི་རྣམས་ཀྱི་རོལ་དབྱངས་སློབ་སྦྱོང་ལ་ས་གནས་མི་མང་ནས་རྒྱབ་སྐྱོར་ གང་ལེགས་གནང་བར་སེམས་ནང་རྗེས་སུ་ཡིད་རང་ཆེན་པོ་ཐོབ། རོལ་དབྱངས་དེའི་ཞོར་དུ་རོལ་དགེ་ཀེ་ཀྲི་ལགས་ནས་ཉེ་སྔོན་ཁོང་གི་རོལ་མོའི་ སློབ་ཕྲུག་ཉི་ཤུ་སྐོར་ནས་ཕྲན་གྱི་རོལ་དབྱངས་ ཞི་བའི་གངས་སེང་དེ་ཕྲུ་གུ་ཚོས་སྦྱོང་བརྡར་གྱིས་བརྙན་འཕྲིན་ཞིག་བཟོས་ནས་ཕྲན་ གྱི་རོལ་དབྱངས་འདུ་འཛོམས་ཞིག་གི་སྐབས་བརྙན་འཕྲིན་དེ་གཟིགས་འབུལ་ཞུས། དེ་ནས་ཨ་ལྕག་ཀེ་ཀྲི་ལགས་ནས་གསུང་དོན་ལ་ད་རེས་སློབ་ཕྲུག་གི་རོལ་དབྱངས་འདུ་ འཛོམས་གོ་སྒྲིགས་ཚོགས་པས་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་མཚོན་ཆེད་ངའི་བོད་ཀྱི་སྲོལ་རྒྱུན་རོལ་ དབྱངས་སྒྲ་འཇུག་ལས་འགུལ་ཐོག་ཞལ་འདེབ་ནང་སོང་བས་སྙིང་ཐག་པ་ནས་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཆེ་ ཞུ།
Photo by Tenzin Dorjee
I will be traveling with my band to Ladakh in July. Here is an article in the Delhi based newspaper The Statesman about the music concert during the Kalachakra teachings by HH The Dalai Lama.
Here is a little more information about HITA. I hope you will support HITA’s work.
The newly-founded HITA Music Agency, promoting Himalayan art, music, and culture, plans to organize a mega-concert in Ladakh during the Kalachakra gathering in July 2014.
The show, that will be held over a few days, will feature well-known as well as budding artistes from the entire Himalayan region. One night will be dedicated for bands. Big names such as Parikrama are being invited for the event.
While in Montreal, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some of my elders from TIPA who now live in this city. I have had the idea of documenting TIPA’s history and Tibetan artists’ lives for a long time. This was a perfect opportunity to sit down with old friends and share and record their stories.
I will be sharing the interviews through a web series that I will soon be launching.
While in Montreal I also gave a talk on ‘Songs of exile and devotion: Music in Tibetan culture’ at McGill University’s Department of Religious Studies. A great opportunity to meet interesting Tibetan scholars and researchers. A special thank you to Professor Lara Braitstein Wangchuk from the Religious Department for hosting this lecture.
On March 23rd, Himalaya Restaurant in Plattsburgh hosted a fundraising luncheon for the Tibetan Music Preservation project. I am so grateful to everyone who showed up for the event.
The following photo report is my photographer friend Sonam Zoksang:
“For the last several years, because of the one and only Tibetan family living in this remote area, Tibet has become quite a well known name in Plattsburgh, in Upstate New York. Over the years, they have organized many events at the local college, SUNY Plattsburgh, and also at different venues to generate an awareness of Tibetan culture and the plight of the Tibetan people. This afternoon, they hosted Techung la in their restaurant to raise funds for his project to make two albums of Tibetan classical music and songs. It was truly a joyful event and many thanks to Tenzin Dorjee la and Shunu Yangchen la’s family for hosting this beautiful event and also to Jhola Techung la for his tireless effort to promote Tibetan musical culture”.
I performed in Montreal at a benefit dinner for the Lhasa classical music recording project, on March 15, at OM Tibetan Restaurant. The event was organized by the Canada Tibet Committee and the Tibetan Cultural Association of Quebec. Especial Thanks to Eva Cirnu and Dominik Czartoryski for hosting me and making this event a success. I want to thank everyone who participated in the event! I am happy to have met so many members of the Tibetan community and Tibet supporters.
A big thank you to Bruno Jubelin for the video!
Watch the CTV News clip (minute 2:20) about the fundraiser
My band and I had a great concert with Phillip Glass, Iggy Pop, Patty Smith and other contemporary and classical musicians. At our rehearsal at the SIR Rehearsal Studios, NY on March 10th, right after our rehearsal/sound check, Philip Glass said “Thank you for bringing these talented musicians (meaning my band members Michel Tyabji, Kito Rodriquez, Sherap Wangmo and Rinzing Wangyal)”. After Sherap Wangmo la sang her song “Kham lu” Robert Thurman la said “Your song came right from the heart, it was beautiful”. In the audience at the rehearsal, Iggy Pop and New Order band members also listened to our songs. Here is a short video:
The concert is an annual fundraising event for the Tibet House.
You can read a concert review in the Rolling Stones magazine.