News :: 2013

Tibetan folk singer Techung performs at the Old US Mint in New Orleans on May 18

By Doug MacCash

Techung on 17 January 2008.

Techung on 17 January 2008. Koichi Sudo (Nekomimi)

Tibetan folk singer Techung, who will perform at the Lakefront Arena during the historic visit of the Dalai Lama on the afternoon of May 18 (sold out), will also appear at the Old U.S. Mint, 400 Esplanade Ave. at 8 that night. Techung and his band Lhasa Spirits will team with New Orleans' Africa Brass band in a concert dedicated to the Dalai Lama's New Orleans sojourn.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and the recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize. As's John Pope wrote in November: "the Dalai Lama will make his first visit to New Orleans in May, when he will speak at three public events and at Tulane University’s commencement. The Dalai Lama, who will be accompanied by 11 monks, will speak twice at a conference titled, 'Resilience: Strength through Compassion and Community.' ... The Dalai Lama, 77, will receive not only an honorary doctorate of humane letters but also one of the second-line umbrellas that are traditionally distributed at that ceremony."

According to the Techung concert press announcement, the San Francisco-based singer, who accompanies himself on the Tibetan lute and violin is "best known for his performances of traditional Tibetan music, dance, and opera under the name Tashi Dhondup Sharzur." He also performed during the Dalai Lama's past visits to Japan and Costa Rica. In 2009 Techung performed at the Carnegie Hall with American stars such as Philip Glass and Patti Smith.

The Website of the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, where Techung performed in 2012, includes a brief biography that begins: “Techung grew up in Dharamshala, India, where his family and tens of thousands of other Tibetans resettled from their native Tibet.”

The Dalai Lama has lived in exile in Dharamshala, India, after the Chinese government quashed an uprising in Tibet in 1959.

At age 9, Techung was enrolled in the Tibetan Dance and Drama School, now known as the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA), according to the Rubin Museum Website. “In his 17 years of residency at the Institute, he studied all aspects of the Tibetan performing arts folk, court, and opera — through the oral teaching tradition used by the venerated Tibetan elders with whom he was honored to study. He toured with TIPA in its first international tour as a leading child actor in 1975-76 and for many years afterwards. After emigrating to the US, he co-founded the San Francisco-based Chaksampa Tibetan Dance and Opera Company in 1989,” according to the site.

Tickets to the Techung performance at the Old U.S. Mint, titled "A Concert for Peace in Tibet, In Honor of His Holiness the Dalai Lama" are $15.

The Dalai Lama's visit

The Dalai Lama's "Resilience Conference" takes place from Thursday 16 May to Friday 17 May at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. The conference will include lectures by author Margaret Wheatley, psychologist Dr. Richard Davidson and others, a guided bus tour of New Orleans, a film concerning gun violence titled "Shell Shocked," Loseling monk chanting, a Mardi Gras Indians performance and a Friday, May 17 morning speech by the Dalai Lama followed by a panel discussion. Tickets to the "Resilience Conference" are $450 general admission and $150 for students. Tickets are available online or through Ticketmaster by phone at 1.800.745.3000.

Free events are planned for the two days before the conference. On Tuesday 14 May a Tibetan Cultural Center display will be presented in lobby G of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. On Wednesday 15 May, Drepung Loseling monks will create a complex sand mandala, also in lobby G.

"Strength through Compassion", a public talk by the Dalai Lama, takes place from 1:30 to 4 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center New Orleans Theater. The "Strength through Compassion" speech on May 17 will require a separate ticket because it will not be part of the conference. Tickets are $55 general admission and $25 for students. Tickets are available online or through Ticketmaster by phone at 1.800.745.3000.

The Dalai Lama's third public address, "Strength Through Connection", will be on May 18 at 1 p.m. in the University of New Orleans Lakefront Arena, which is sold out.

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