Yungchen Llamo

Melodies from the Meditative StateMary Talbot

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THERE IS A SAYING in Tibet that a beautiful voice can make a wild animal stop dead in its tracks and listen.

Such a voice, and its pacifying potential, are the Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo's karma. A few days after her birth, her mother presented her to a lama who named her “Goddess of Song”. For much of her life, though, singing was just an occasional luxury. Eight years ago, she fled Chinese-occupied Tibet, trekked across the Himalayas, and arrived half-dead in Dharamsala with a single-minded quest: to see his Holiness the Dalai Lama and study the dharma. Today, she has a stunning record, “Tibet, Tibet,” on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label, and a blessing from His Holiness: To fulfill her Bodhisattva Vows, he told her, she must use her voice to help spread some understanding and appreciation of Tibetan culture, as China does its best to stamp it out.

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