The Story of The Gyuto Monks of Tibet
The Gyuto order was originally based in Lhasa, Tibet. In 1950 the Chinese invaded Tibet and massacred thousands of monks.
59 of the Gyuto Monks managed to escape across the Himalayas, with the Dalai Lama into India.
These 59 monks founded the monastery Gyuto Monastery in Dharamsala.
There are now over 500 monks living there as refugees with ages from 4 up to 94 !
Gyuto's monks are known for their unique tradition of overtone singing (also described as "chordal chanting") which is said to have been transmitted by their founder. Theirs is a tradition dating back 600 years.
When chanting or meditating the monks experience extraordinary effects such as being able to raise their temperature by up to 20 degrees, and an absence of any pain.
The Gyuto Monks' music is very important to them.
They have found great success in their ability to touch the souls of millions around the world.
In 1973 The Gyuto Monks sold out a concert at the Royal Albert Hall .
They have been flown to the USA by Harrison Ford and Richard Gere.
They were even nominated for a Grammy Award in 2011 (for Best Traditional World Music Album).
The Gyuto Monks have a big following in Australia , where they have recently sold out concerts at Sydney Opera House .
A group of monks tour Australia every year and this year the monks will have toured Australia with the Dalai Lama.
100 years after the Tibetan Declaration of Independence, The Gyuto Monks are making headlines by visiting the UK for the first time in 40 years to perform in the Green Fields at Glastonbury 2013
Chants - The Spirit of Tibet was produced by Youth, who plays bass for cult band Killing Joke, and has famously produced records for The Verve, U2, and Dido, among many others.
Youth: "We travelled to India to record the Gyuto Tibetan Monks in their monastery in exile in Dharamsala, on the fringe of the Himalayas. The initial impact of the monks chanting was overwhelming, this rich deep low bass rumbling the very walls of the temple, strange harmonics that tricked the mind and ear into thinking there were flutes playing and other instruments too."
We wanted to combine the chanting of The Gyuto Monks with a contemporary landscape of beats, synths, Tibetan instrumentation and melodies to paint a scene of the positive, proud resilience of the exiled monks, outlining their struggle and plight with dramatic , emotional, powerful songs.
We would love for you to listen to some of their music!
Listen on headphones if you can! (It's a very wide sonic experience)
Please click a track name below to listen:
We hope with these recordings that we have captured the humility and devotion to compassion towards fellow human beings that these monks exemplify.
We hope you have enjoyed learning about some of this very special group of people, And we hope you have enjoyed listening to their music.
"Buddhas and Bodhisattvas act as a metaphor and an ideal for our basic potential to become perfect beings. Through their meditational visualizations, and moved passionately by their intense motivation to reach out to all beings, the monks project themselves as tantric deities who have the power to move the heart from a state of negative awareness based on ignorance to the pure state of loving kindness and compassion based on wisdom which brings happiness to all."
Thank you for listening and learning with the Gyuto Monks of Tibet