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World Music CD Reviews Asia & Far East

Bokar Rimpoche

By Malachai Phelps
Published June 6, 2008

Sacred Chants And Tibetan Rituals From The Monastery Of Mirik
Sub Rosa

Reverence of place is essential to the impact of any so-called field recording, but when you have the full support of your subject—in this case, Tibetan meditation master Bokar Rimpoche—the results can be truly mind-blowing. Several years before the Precious One’s death in 2004, French filmmaker Guy Maezelle and his sound engineers were granted full access to the Mirik monastery in India, and the recorded document they created stands as an engaging representation of Tibetan ritual music in its natural state. Not to be confused with the growls and whistles of Tuvan throat singing (also a part of Mahayana Buddhist practice), Tibetan meditative chants are simple and haunting in their elegance—standouts here include the four-voice song “Calling The Lama From Afar” and the plaintive solo chant “Praise Mantra For Milarepa,” dedicated to the 11th-century Tibetan yogi and sorcerer who was said to be the first to attain full enlightenment in one lifetime. From the chilling horns of the Mahakala ceremony to the quietly ringing bowls used for prayer, this is a fitting tribute to a timeless tradition.