Tibetan Buddhism: Tantras of Gyütö, Nonesuch H-72064.
This is Tibetan monks sort of chanting and sort of singing (at some extremely low pitches much of the time) mostly in unison, but sometimes there will be a solo voice. The unison parts use an interesting isorhythm. Due to the low pitches that they sing, their voices have a deep, resonant sound—it’s almost as if you can hear the individual vibrations of their vocal chords (maybe you can).
This sounds like frog music—good frog music, to be exact. I don’t mean that to be derogatory; I happen to like frog music. It’s just that I simply can’t listen to this without thinking of the frogs singing in Paul McCartney’s animated film, Rupert and the Frog Song. Frog music is a strangely neglected (in my opinion, anyway) genre of music. I know for a fact that kids like frog music, and I know for a fact that adults like it (and I wouldn’t trust any adult who didn’t like frog music with my kids (assuming I had kids)). It’s fun (although these Tantras are certainly more on the serious side of the frog music spectrum). Of course, part of the reason why it’s easy for me to abstract these Tantras as ‘simply’ frog music is the fact that I don’t understand the language they’re sung in, so I don’t have a clue as to what they’re actually about. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to any of the religious ideas expressed by the words (In fact, I consider myself to be a lapsed Zen Buddhist/Taoist). But I do think it’s fun to listen to.
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(This post was originally posted on the leipzig48.com blog Dancing about Architecture in 2006.)