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Prayers to the Protector

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Editorial Reviews

Product description

The relationship between Thupten Nyandak Pema Lama and Celestial Harmonies goes back to the mid-eighties when producer David Parsons recorded the first album by the monks of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery in Dharamsala, India, for Fortuna Records, Sacred Ceremonies (17074). At the time of this writing, there are three volumes in the Sacred Ceremonies series, with more in various planning stages. The recordings have been well received by a wide audience in many countries, from lay people interested in Buddhist culture to followers of the religion to listeners like director Bernardo Bertolucci who used some of their chants in 'Little Buddha'. Likewise, Steve Roach's relationship with Fortuna Records and thus Celestial Harmonies goes back to the mid eighties, and Roach has since assembled a veritable catalogue of recordings in his inimitable style of electronic and acoustic/electronic music. It, therefore, came as no surprise that Thupten thought of visiting Tucson, Arizona, and spending the night at Steve's house (cum recording studio) on the outskirts of Tucson. During that visit in 1996 the chant portion of the present recording was made, having been inspired by Thupten's daily chanting of prayers from the Lama Chpa, (also known as Guru Puja in sanskrit), and essential compendium of daily prayers for Tibetan buddhists. 'In Paris, I heard a recording of Tibetan singing with this more modern music, and I thought someday I would like to do this myself,' Thupten said almost immediately. Steve set up a microphone and Thupten proceeded to sing from the Lama Chpa that he carries with him wherever he goes. Some of these chants are devotions to the gurus and deities who assist seekers on the path to enlightenment. Others are prayers to the protectors who deflect evil influences and cleanse the world of imbalances, negative emotions and ego driven states of mind

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It was inevitable that synthesist Steve Roach would apply his soundscape designs to the deep, ancient, and often harrowing chants of Tibetan Buddhist monks. He's gone into the primal core with Aboriginal sounds and cultures on albums such as "i"Dreamtime Return, and his "i"Magnificent Void CD stepped into the abyss. On "i"Prayers to the Protector, he works with the chants of Thupten Pema Lama of the Dip Tse Chok Ling Monastery. In Roach's studio, Thupten Pema Lama sang these devotional prayers and entreaties unaccompanied. Then Roach slipped them into his own soundworld, surrounding the monk with evanescent waves of synthesized ambiences. Being Steve Roach, this isn't the usual pretty New Age synth-glissandos, but darkly hued textures with metallic edges. On "Djewa takgya lingchee lhunbur dje" (a prayer for the world, according to the liner notes), he evokes the metal gongs and bowls of Tibetan chants as well as a freight train putting on the brakes in space. Prayers to the Protector doesn't dress up Buddhist chants, it just sends them into deeper space. "i"--John Diliberto

Prayers to the Protector