Upbeat: Notes from Tibet

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The Independent Culture
BUDDHISM and politics are inevitably at the forefront of a visit by the Dalai Lama. But when he fled to India after the Chinese took control, about the second thing he did (having founded a 'government in exile') was to set up a Tibetan Institute for Performing Arts, realising that the nation's culture needed nourishing just as much as its political will. Hidden away among the Dalai Lama's lectures and meetings at Wembley last weekend was a concert showing off some of its work, along with the spectacularly low- voiced chanting of Tibetan monks.

The star turn, however, was a guest 'overtone singer' from Mongolia - the style uses mouth and head cavities to generate a virtuoso array of drones and whistles that make Stockhausen's Stimmung sound like busking. Word has got around, since a further performance at the October Gallery next week has sold out. But the gallery says it may be arranging a repeat next month, and Mongolian overtone singing has caught the South Bank's ear too: there is a session during the Meltdown festival in July.

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