For those not familiar with Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, he is one of the foremost Tibetan musicians today. A monk for eleven years, Khechog’s music has been nominated for a Grammy award, and he has collaborated with everyone from Phillip Glass and Kitaro to Michael Stipe (R.E.M) and Natalie Merchant.
He has released several solo cds, one of which I happened to stumble across recently. Universal Love is an older release (2003), but it definitely bears mentioning, at least in part because it’s my “newest find,” and also because a review of this cd is particularly appropriate coming on the heels of the Beijing Olympics’ closing ceremonies. As on many of his cds, Khechog utilizes a variety of Tibetan instruments, most of which he plays himself, along with chants in his native Tibetan language. The music is both haunting and peace inspiring at the same time, and the last track, “Tibetan Freedom Chant” was a particularly appropriate song for me to be listening to on Saturday evening as the Olympics closed, as it contains a recording composed by His Holiness, the XIV Dalai Lama. Available on cd or for download from Sounds True.
There is something more than a little appropriate about a Tibetan flute player collaborating with a Native American flute player on a cd. Winds of Devotion, by R. Carlos Nakai and Nawang Khechog, is a 2008 release of a cd originally released in 1998. This cd blends the best of both forms of contemplative music amazingly well. In addition to Tibetan and Native American flute and other instruments, both Khechog and Carlos Nakai, (a Navajo-Ute) contribute chants and vocals to this beautiful cd. Available on cd or for download from Sounds True.