Most traditional Tibetan music is religious in nature, reflecting the deep influence Buddhism has on Tibet’s history, culture and daily life. There are chants, mantras, and a lot of low, resonant drums. (In music class, we do a little bit of Tibetan Buddhist chanting, sort of like this.) Of course, with so many Tibetans living in exile and with Tibet itself becoming more modern, global styles have begun to blend with, and even supplant, traditional music. Today Tibetans rock, rap and sing luscious pop music in front of aerobicizing dancers just like the rest of us. (Though, apparently this is a Tibetan rave.)

If you’re looking for modern Tibetan music, albeit with a traditional twist, you may also want to check out popular Tibetan musicians such as the one and only Sherten (short for Sherab Tendzin), who won “Best Male Singer” at the 2009 Tibetan Music Awards because of heartfelt songs like this one  and the now-defunct Rangzen Shonu — “basically the best music band in the history of Tibet”.  (If you invite musicians who love Rangzen Shonu over to your apartment, be ready for a party like this.)

More information:
Wikipedia on Tibetan music | MusicTibet which, on any given day, is as likely to promote a YouTube video called “Long Live Dalai Lama” as it is to feature an article in which international pop star Shakira quotes Gandhi | Description of traditional Tibetan musical styles, kindly provided by the China Tibet Information Center | Music from the Tibetan Freedom Concert in 1997, representing a unique sub-genre of Tibetan music — recordings by non-Tibetan musicians playing non-Tibetan music to support Tibet

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