York St John Students Join Monks at the NCEM
York St John music students had the opportunity to work with the Tashi Lhunpo Tibetan Monks prior to their sell-out concert at the NCEM on Thursday 16th October.
The workshop offered an introduction to the instruments used in the Tibetan monastic 'orchestra'. Starting with the great Dung-Chen, long horns eight feet in length, the monks then went on to demonstrate the use of one of the smallest percussion instruments - the resonant Ting-shak, small cymbals used to induce a calm mind prior to a period of meditation.
They also played individual instruments including the conch shell trumpet, the double-reed Gyaling or oboe and bells, cymbals and drums, which were then used in the prayer of Kang-sol - Fulfilling the Wish of the Deities.
The Monks also demonstrated the prayer of Choed which is used to show the use of melody in chanted prayers accompanied by trumpets made from human leg bones as part of the Tantric tradition, offering a reminder of the impermanence of life, and the need to prepare for one's next rebirth.
The music students also got the opportunity play the various instruments themselves, assisted by the monks.
Chris Bartram, Senior Lecturer in Music, York St John University said this had been a wonderful experience for his students to learn about a different culture and musical style. He elaborated: "We work regularly with the NCEM and our students have the privilege to engage with world-class musicians from around the world and expand their musical knowledge."
Jane Rasch, Tour Manager for the Tashi Lhunpo Monks said: "It was a pleasure to meet the students and see them interacting with the monks and experiencing this endangered culture first hand. It was great to see so many of them at the concert as well."
The visit of the Tashi Lhunpo Monks to York is part of a three-month tour of the UK and Europe during which the monks have given performances of the masked dances from the monastery, held workshops and organised sand mandala exhibitions, sharing the culture of their monastery with hundreds of people of all ages. In November they return to their monastery in South India to continue their studies. The tour is organised by the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery UK Trust. More details about the monks is available at www.tashi-lhunpo.org.uk
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