Tibetan Buddhist monks from a monastery in India will present a program of music and dance July 19, at the Scranton Cultural Center.
The concert is co-sponsored by the Lackawanna County Library System and The Gathering at Keystone College, an annual three-day conference on campus July 18 to 21.
Called “Sacred Music, Sacred Dance for World Healing,” the performance features monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery in a program of multiphonic chanting accompanied by traditional Tibetan instruments including 10-foot long “dung-chen” horns, drums, bells, cymbals and “gyaling” trumpets.
The program is designed to introduce western audiences to the endangered Tibetan Buddhist culture and to contribute to world peace.
In addition to the singing, monks in rich brocade costumes and masks perform sacred dances that tell stories from Tibetan society.
The monks’ appearance in Scranton is a stop on their worldwide “Mystical Arts Tour.” One of the tour’s producers is Richard Gere, the actor and well known convert to Tibetan Buddhism. It has also received the endorsement of the Dalai Lama.
“We are pleased to partner with The Gathering in bringing this significant cultural event to Lackawanna County,” said Mary Garm, Library System administrator.
“Library patrons seek opportunities to learn about their world in many ways beyond books, and this program is an offering that can help meet that need,” she added.
“In keeping with the mission of Keystone College, The Gathering explores creativity from the perspective of other cultures,” said Suzanne Fisher Staples, program coordinator for The Gathering. “The Tibetan perspective and the Buddhist practice of living in the present are integral parts of this year’s program.”
The monks of Drepung Loseling have a distinguished modern-day musical history. On past tours they have performed with Kitaro, Paul Simon, Philip Glass, Edie Brickell, Natalie Merchant, Patti Smith, the Beastie Boys and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart, among others.
In addition, two of their recordings achieved top-10 listings on the New Age charts: “Tibetan Sacred Temple Music” and “Sacred Tibetan Chants.”
Their most recent recording, “Compassion” pairs them with Trappist Monks from the Abbey of Gethsemani in an encounter of Catholic Gregorian chant with Tibetan multiphonic singing.
Their music was featured on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack of the film Seven Years in Tibet, starring Brad Pitt (Columbia Pictures) and they performed with Philip Glass in Lincoln Center in the live presentation of his award-winning score to the Martin Scorsese film Kundun (Disney).
The Loseling monks have twice been featured artists at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and in July 2003 they represented Tibet in a pre-Olympic celebration of World Sacred Music and Dance.
Funding for the concert is provided by the Lackawanna County Office of Arts and Culture, the Lackawanna County Library System and Keystone College.
Tickets for the event can be obtained at any Lackawanna County Library System library, at Keystone College and at the Scranton Cultural Center box office.