Chanter to demonstrate healing power of sound

By Kelly Hawes, Galveston Daily News Correspondent, July 5, 2005

GALVESTON, Texas (USA) -- A man described as one of the world?s great multiphonic chanters will appear in Galveston to discuss the healing power of sound.

Ngawang Tashi Bapu, chant master for the Dalai Lama?s Drepung Loseling Monastery, will appear as part of the ongoing ?Spirituality in Healthcare Dialogue? sponsored by the William Temple Episcopal Center.

The monastery in India is one of the largest Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the world with more than 3,000 monks.

Cleta Sireno, operations manager for the William Temple center, said the appearance had been arranged by the center?s executive director, the Rev. Rosemary ?Posey? Jackson.

?Posey has heard him on two occasions in Austin and has been trying to get him to speak at one of our ?Spirituality in Healthcare Dialogues? for several years now,? Sireno said.

Lama Tashi?s appearance also is a part of UTMB?s Diversity Week celebration, and he will be one of the panelists at a kick-off luncheon at Levin Hall that same day.

In his presentation that evening, Lama Tashi will speak about the role of chanting in the life of a monastery and the life of a Buddhist. He will demonstrate and explain more about how the chant is done, and how sound heals.

Lama Tashi, who began to formally study chanting at the age of 17 in 1985, eventually perfected the Tibetan ?Deep Voice,? a multiphonic singing technique used in sacred prayer. Fourteen years later, he was named umzey, or principal chant master, for the monastery.

Thought to arise only from the throat of a person who has realized selfless wisdom, multiphonic chanting is defined as multiple tones emanating from a single larynx. The monks? chanting arises from a trancelike state called Samadhi.

Lama Tashi appeared at New York City?s Carnegie Hall in 1997 and 1998, and he has performed with many notables, including Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., Patti Smith, Ben Harper, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and Sheryl Crow.

In 1998, he performed with Philip Glass at the premier of the film ?Kundun? at Lincoln Center in New York City. In 2002, he performed with Kitaro at Denver?s City Light?s Pavilion.

He also founded the Siddhartha Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to preserving and invigorating the Tibetan Buddhist culture.


What: ?Healing Sounds,? a presentation by the Dalai Lama?s chant master, Ngawang Tashi Bapu.

When: 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Where: Levin Hall at 11th and Market streets on the campus of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Parking: Free in the parking lot across the street.