Listen: Meredith Monk, Ani Choying Drolma and Art as Spiritual Practice

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On Nov. 17, 2016, World Music Institute artistic director Par Neiburger took the stage at National Sawdust to introduce two world-renowned artists whose music is driven by intense spirituality: "This concert is an exploration in art as a spiritual practice. As many of you may know, Meredith Monk is a Buddhist practitioner and Ani Choying Drolma is a Buddhist monk from Nepal." 

What followed were intimate, voice-driven sets from composer-singer Meredith Monk and Nepalese nun and musician Ani Choying Dolma. The concert was co-presented by National Sawdust and the World Music Institute as part of a series that explores the intersections of art from various cultures.

Ani Choying Drolma (Live at National Sawdust)

Monk's set ranged from early-career a cappella and piano-driven music (1979's Songs from the Hill) to selections from her latest opera On Behalf of Nature.

Drolma's performance incorporated melodies from an 11th-century Tibetan Buddhist practice called Chöd founded by the teacher and yogini Machig Labdrön. The music is interspersed with stories of Labdrön's teachings.

Listen to Meredith Monk's set at the top of this page, and Ani Choying Drolma's above.

Ani Choying Drolma
Traditional Chöd melodies and improvisation
Ani Choying Drolma, voice and percussion

Meredith Monk:
"Porch" (from Songs from the Hill)
"Wa-Lie-Oh Oh" (from Songs from the Hill)
"Click Song #1" (from Light Songs)
"Jaw Harp"
"Gotham Lullaby"
"Choosing Companions" (from Atlas)
Selection from Cellular Songs
"Water/Sky Rant" (from On Behalf of Nature)
"Spider Web Anthem" (from On Behalf of Nature)
"Do You Be" (from Vessel)

Meredith Monk-voice, piano, jaw harp
Katie Geissinger, voice
Allison Sniffin, voice, piano

Engineers: Edward Haber (technical director), George Wellington (music mix), Duke Markos (set-up)