London: The Gyuto Monks of Tibet, who are living in exile with the Dalai Lama in India, will perform their chants at the world-famous Glastonbury music festival in England later this month.
The monks' Glastonbury debut follows a recent global record deal with Universal Music, as part of which all proceeds from their forthcoming album, 'Chants: The Spirit of Tibet', will go to their Himalayan monastery in Dharamsala.
"We are honoured to be invited to take part in the world's premiere music festival, at the spiritual centre of the site," said Thupten Phuntsok, a member of the six-monk group.
The Gyuto Monks will break off from a tour of Australia with the Dalai Lama to make their appearance at the Glastonbury Festival's Green Fields on June 27, with the blessing of the Buddhist spiritual leader.
"The work that the Gyuto Monks do in the West has my full support," the Dalai Lama said in reference to the group. Glastonbury, which takes place in Somerset, south-west England, every year is widely known for its general hippie music festival vibe but has been increasingly opening up to experimental and religious tones such as gospel music.
The monks will also create a ceremonial 'Sand Mandala' at the festival, a traditional Buddhist artwork which is destroyed on completion to mark the transitory nature of life.
One of the oldest monks to perform is Lobsang Tsering, a 78-year-old exile who followed the Dalai Lama to India when the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959. Over the years he has worked with Hollywood celebrities like Richard Gere, Harrison Ford, Phillip Glass and George Lucas.
His group has previously performed in the UK four decades ago when they sold-out the Royal Albert Hall in London back in 1973. They have also performed in concerts around the world, from New York's Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House, and across the US touring with The Grateful Dead. The Gyuto Monks were nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional World Music category in 2011 for their album 'Pure Sounds'.
Universal Music, one of the world's biggest record companies, said the signing of the Gyuto Monks "marks the 100th anniversary of the Tibetan Declaration of Independence". Their new album, 'Chants: The Spirit of Tibet', will be produced by Youth, the bassist for the post-punk rock band Killing Joke, whose production and remix credits include U2 and Depeche Mode. "The Monks exemplify, in their mystical chants, the essence of Tibetan tantric wisdom and the profound philosophy of the Dalai Lama. This is a musical system intentionally designed to alter your consciousness towards an illuminated and enlightened state," he said. Due for International release on Universal's Decca Records label on July 8, the album is being recorded at the monastery in Dharamsala and combines the Gyuto Monks' distinctive chanting and the finest Tibetan musicians, with the aim of transporting the listener to another world.
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