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Indian monk misses Grammy

Last updated on: February 09, 2006 19:52 IST

Indian Buddhist monk Lama Tashi did not win a Grammy, even though thousands of monks from Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir to Miao in Arunachal Pradesh kept a nightlong vigil before the television.

Lama Tashi was nominated in the Best Traditional Music Album category. He lost out to Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté's In The Heart Of The Moon. Grammy nominees Asha Bhosle and Anoushka Shankar also did not win.

Tashi is the principal of the Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies at Dahung, in Arunachal Pradesh, and his music is aimed at "spreading peace, harmony and love."

Meet the Indian monk at the Grammies

Lama Tashi, a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, has been the Principal Chant Master of His Holiness The Dalai Lama's Drepung Loseling monastery in India. Lama Tashi has the ability of creating an amazingly deep sound, and producing multiple overtones as he chants with an ancient and sacred Tibetan technique that gives the impression of several people chanting together.

''He has represented a community which was struggling for existence. It is a big step forward,'' said Tashi's cousin Samdrup, who, with many others, watched the Grammy Awards on television.

''Television is forbidden in the Drepung Loseling monastery where Tashi belongs. But everybody was waiting in front of TV sets to see the Lama walk up to the podium and make India and Buddhism proud,'' Samdrup said.

''We wanted him to win. It would have been a great honour for Indians,'' said Gyalup, a schoolteacher in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh.

Lama Tashi's album was produced by Jonathan Goldman, known for his research on healing through sounds.

''He [Lama Tashi] was at the same platform with the who's who of the music industry like Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Sheryl Crow and Eric Clapton at the 48th annual Grammy Awards night,'' said young Lama Tshering.

Before leaving for Los Angles, Tashi claimed that in 1988, two groups of medical experts examined his throat to unravel the secret behind his unique sound. Twice during his world tour that year, doctors at Montreal in Canada and Florida in the US conducted tests to find out how he could produce multi-phonic sounds that give the impression of several singers performing together.

''Once they inserted a camera through my nose to look at my throat. I felt very sleepy when my throat was examined,' the 38-year-old monk had said.

Over the past several years, larger numbers of meditative chant CDs have made their way into music store shelves. But Tibetan Master Chants is a truly unique musical offering.