Balancing art and business
Here is an update on what I have been doing in the past two months. It is true that somehow living a life of artist is wearing many hats and getting lost in balancing the art and business, the two opposite worlds. But I am trying.
I have been into making some short videos of traditional music mainly for sharing. I know there are many who love to learn these songs. It is quite overwhelming to come up with new, good music videos. But right now, this is what I can do in my situation.
I teach once a week at the Emory University. There are graduates and undergraduate students in my class. I am so inspired to see these students learn Tibetan music. We will have a show to put up in December. I am teaching them Nangma "Ama Le Ho", one of the most loved Nangma in Lhasa.
In August, I took part in a concert organized by SFT in New York City. It went very well. Our music was part of a bigger event that brought together activists, musicians and freedom fighters. The highlight of this event was giving the Lhakar Award, honoring the men and women in Tibet who are putting their lives on line.
I was in Los Angeles in September for the event - 100 Thousand Poets for Change for a free Tibet. It was organized by Poet Teresa C. Dowell who put her own funds and energy to make this event possible. The gathering was rather small but with lots of hearts. My partners, Michel Tyabji and Ralph Kitto Rodriquiz and Sherap Wangmo la from Minneapolis, participated and supported the event too. Poets, musicians and other guests read poems written by some of the reknown Tibetan poets: T.N. Shagappa, Tenzin Tsundue and Tsering Wangmo Dhompa. As a result of this gathering, Teresa was able to generate some fund to organize a poetry contest among young Tibetans. Find more here. After the poetry gathering, Michel-la, Kitto-la and I had a nice discussion about planning a tour in 2013.
I will be in the Bay Area in late October to take part in a Tibetan opera performance, Ache Lhamo, with the non-profit Tibetan cultural group called Chaksampa. This is the first time a Tibetan opera is being performed on such a big scale in the US. We will have about 20 artists in traditional costumes performing in the show which is expected to last 4 to 6 hours.
The revolution in the Middle East is quite powerful to witness and I pray that the changes go smoothly without losing much life. But on the other hand a change of this magnitute cannot be done without losing lives. This is what is happening in eastern Tibet too. Young Tibetan monks are self immolating for our independence and freedom from China. Please learn more and support the monks in Kirti monastary by visiting the following links at studentsforafreetibet.org or tibetnetwork.org.
I also want to mention here that I have taken the lead to start an Alliance for Tibetan Musicians (ATM). This took little more than five years of thinking and discussing with Tibetan musicians from Nepal to India to North America. Many musicians that I have met have voiced their frustration against rampant piracy of their music and the lack of economic support in the community. At the moment, like everyone else, I too have much on my plate but noticed that being one of the older musicians in the community, I have a role to play in launching this organization. I hope ATM's initial objectives are to unite everyone and help each other with encouragement and guidance. We will then see what the priorities are as we move forward. One of our first small tasks is to award a trophy to Mr. Lobsang Wangyal, who runs the Music Tibet website and also organizes our version of the Grammys in Dharamshala.
Have a beautiful Fall