Tibetan flautist Nawang Khechog marks 20 years as a professional musician with his new release, Tibetan Mediation Music, a collection of 11 original compositions based on traditional meditative themes. The title might suggest otherwise, but except for sounds used to mark passages in services - such as gongs, bells, and trumpets - music is not a part of Buddhist mediation. It is employed here as the aural background to some of the more commonly used chants and prayers in the Tibetan tradition.
Nawang Khechog knows a bit about those, having in his youth been an ordained monk for 11 years. Among the pieces for which he has chosen to compose are chants to the Buddha, Manju Shri (the god of wisdom), Avalokiteshrava (the god of compassion), and Tara (a female goddess of compassion). There are also two songs based on classic Tibetan poetry, as well as a piece commissioned for the opening ceremony of a 2006 address from ten Nobel Peace Laureates.
Given its purpose, it's hardly surprising to find the music for this project is solemn and staid, built around Nawang's exceptional flute playing and his subdued, often whispered, chanting of the ancient invocations. Except for the marimba on The Great Prince of Peace, the music is played without rhythmic accompaniment and is adorned with bells, gongs and occasional sound effects, such as rolling thunder in The Perfection of Wisdom, or cowbells in Walking Into the Himalayas. These tonal explorations are enriched by the sound of violin, cello, and oud.
This is a lovely album of quiet music suitable for prayer, relaxation, yoga, or massage. It is can also be used to create a relaxing ambience for your work space.