This is one of the most unusual review CDs I’ve received so far this year! I knew I was in for a wild musical ride from the first 5 seconds of Track 1: Beyond Karma. This phenomenal production features deep bass monk chants combined with Australia’s sacred music duo Kim Cunio and Heather Lee. Traditional Tibetan chants are blended with original vocal/instrumental songs that draw on Jewish, Christian, Hindu and Islamic traditions.
Dr. Kim Cunio is a musicologist and sacred music composer. Heather Lee is a soprano. The Gyoto monks are a world music treasure well known from previous recordings. The monks sing in an immensely low range and their sonorous unison sound called “overtone singing.” The monastery was founded in 1475 by Jetsun Kunga Dhondup who is believed to have started the tradition of overtone singing or chordal chanting.
Beyond Karma features the monk’s chanting with Lee singing soprano melodies, occasional choral ensembles, and a combination of east-west instruments including piano, harmonium, tanpura, santour, orchestral strings, wooden flute, oud, didjeridoo, and percussion. For example, the title track combines the Gyuto Monks performing their morning meditation chant with Lee singing the Ashkenazi prayer “Y’hu L’Ratzon.” The second track combines the “Karma Burning” chant backed with a didgeridoo. As always, the words and meanings of the monk’s chanting remain a secret.
This album is dimension-bending, spiritually awakening musical experience. It stretches the boundaries of sacred music by melting the normal barriers between religions. This is the kind of CD one might listen to while preparing for an out-of-body experience. Heck, this music could trigger an etheric leap into the cosmos! This album is amazing for meditation, circle work, syncretic spell work, intense healing rituals, or any ritual where eclectic streams of multiple traditions are combined. It’s mind-blowing and soul expanding to the -nth degree.
“We all have the potential to break the law of cause and effect and be free.” Gyuto Elder Gen Lama (from the CD cover)
~review by Elizabeth Hazel