“Beyond” Buddhist and Christian Prayers – Tina Turner, Dechen Shak-Dagsay, Regula Curti – New Earth Records NE 3107, 71:12 ****:
In 2005 The Dalai Lama and Abbot Martin Werlen of a Swiss Benedictine Monastery held a shared ceremony of interreligious dialog. They reminded the audience to cultivate and deepen their own religion and to search for shared values across all belief systems. Their words inspired two singers to create a CD with Buddhist and Christian prayers musically melded. One is Deschen Shak-Dagsay, a native Tibetan mantra singer whose family fled Tibet in 1959 and currently lives in Switzerland. She has done four previous CDs for New Earth Records, and the Dalai Lama has appointed her an Ambassador of Peace for Tibetans. The other is Regula Curti, founder of the Center of Therapy & Education in Zurich, Switzerland – a music and art therapist and singing teacher. She uses Buddhist and Hindu prayers in her work at the Center, and was inspired to also sing and teach Christian prayers.
The two singers turned to 71-year-old Tina Turner, a practicing Buddhist, to introduce and participate with readings and chanting. The idea is to explore the love and compassion that are the unifying essence of every religion. Out of her own religious experience Tina created a touching message to heal and inspire, teach and uplift. It is her first spiritual recording project ever. A 36-page booklet accompanies the album, with all the prayers on the 15 tracks of the CD in English. There is a short paragraph on each prayer and meditation, explaining its origins and uses. The Dalai Lama said of the album that it “will allow listeners to share in these prayers, stirring thoughts of deeper respect and peace in their lives.”
There are no credits for the instrumental part of the music. I gather it is primarily of synthesized origin, but very well done. There are often multiple voices and of course noticeable reverberation. There are also some male voices chanting. In the few more uptempo selections it reminded me of George Harrison’s Hari Krishna album. The CD comes up as New Age genre in iTunes and that is probably accurate, but it seems to me more tasteful and with more depth than many New Age albums. The readings by Turner are especially moving. A most worthwhile project, and all proceeds from the CD sales go to spiritual education programs for children and youth.
TrackList: Beyond, Connecting Hearts, Sound of Mystic Law, Interlude One, Holy Praise, Heavenly Joy, Healing Power, Embracing Wisdom, Compassionate Love, Interlude Two, Purity of Mind, Dance with the Divine, Power of Forgiveness, Interlude Three, Devotion.
— John Henry