A new age recording including contributions from the Dalai Lama is being used to get underprivileged kids in Hawaii musical instruments and spread the awareness about the concept of "aloha."
The Himalayan Sessions is a compilation featuring late flutist and “father of New Age music” Paul Horn, Emmy awarded world music composer Christopher Hedge and Hawaiian traditional musician Keola Beamer. The 10-track album also features contributions from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama on four songs, "Reflections," "Morning Prayer," "Preserving Dharma" and "Autonomous Harmony."
Proceeds from the compilation will go towards the Aloha Music Camp and Mohala Hou Foundation which provide ukuleles to children in third-world countries.
The album and its related instrument program are part of a bigger vision around the concept of "aloha." While Westerners may see it simply as a word of greeting, it's like a shorthand representation for a way of life where, according to a release about the album, the object is "to try to live one’s life in a spirit of aloha, to reach out and connect with others, make good decisions, and shape one’s life under the auspices of this all-encompassing concept of universal love."
“The concept behind this whole project started with a conversation that Keola and I had a couple years ago, and the spirit behind it is literally to try to spread the concept of aloha around the world," said Tom Vendetti, the Maui filmmaker who compiled the album, in a statement. "The project will support bringing ukuleles to underprivileged children. One hundred percent of the funds from the CD will go to this program."
Songs from the compilation also soundtrack films Vendetti's films Journey Inside Tibet, Mount Kailash — Return to Tibet, Tibetan Illusion Destroyer, When the Mountain Calls: Nepal, Tibet & Bhutan and the Emmy Award winning film Bhutan Taking The Middle Path To Happiness.
The musicians believe the precepts of Tibetan Buddhism are similar to the spirit behind aloha, which made the Dalai Lama's contributions fit seamlessly. The need to protect and respect the environment in these modern, changing times had a particularly strong pull.
“In our families, idea of aloha has been passed down for generations,” said Beamer, in a statement. "My family traces its lineage back to the 13th century in Hawaii. And the spirit of aloha was intrinsic in our family for its entire existence on this planet. Maybe it came from this sort of realization that Hawaii was just incredibly remote. And the ancient navigators who found it realized how beautiful and precious it was. We have a lot of aloha for our environment and we try to protect it as best we can. But there are many challenges as Hawaii becomes more Western-influenced, more developed, resulting in more stress to the native people of Hawaii. You know, it's actually harder for people to live with aloha because of the challenges on every side."
The Aloha Music Camp is a week-long camp headed by members of the Beamer family focused on the music, dance, language and culture of Hawai‘i. The Mohala Hou Foundation was founded in 2007 to support and promote the teaching and sharing of Hawaiian music, dance, language, and culture. The foundation's goal is to promote and support Hawaiian culture, support workshops and public performances and to provide scholarships for students, teachers and elders.