World music is usually presented onstage by professional musicians. The monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery, set to perform at the Ulster Performing Arts Center on October 13, fall into a different category: genuine monks who are taking time off from a lifelong devotion to contemplation and study to participate in a world tour. By sharing their cultural traditions, they hope to be able to make some small contribution toward world peace and greater awareness of the Tibetan situation. At the end of each tour the monks return to Drepung Loseling Monastery – originally founded in Tibet, now reestablished in exile in southern India since the Chinese takeover – to continue their vocation.
Robed in magnificent costumes and playing traditional Tibetan instruments, the Loseling monks perform ancient temple music and dance believed to generate energies conducive to world healing. The program features authentic temple dances and multiphonic chanting. This concert is a rare opportunity for a look into Tibetan monastic culture, as these pieces are rarely seen outside the monasteries in which they are performed.
In addition to the Sunday performance, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day from Wednesday, October 9 through Saturday, October 12, the monks will create a sand mandala at UPAC. A translator will be on hand to answer questions, and the community will have the opportunity to engage in conversation with the monks while enjoying the ephemeral artwork they are creating.
“The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music Sacred Dance” begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 13. Your ticket price of $30 entitles you to a three-day pass to the tenth annual O+ Festival, allowing access to all festival weekend art, music and wellness events. Purchase your tickets in person at the Bardavon box office at 35 Market Street in Poughkeepsie, (845) 473-2072; the UPAC box office at 601 Broadway in Kingston, (845) 339-6088; or via Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.
Mystical Arts of Tibet: Sacred Music Sacred Dance, Sunday, October 13, 3 p.m., $30, Ulster Performing Art Center, 601 Broadway, Kingston, (845) 339-6088, www.bardavon.org