Acclaimed Tibetan mantra singer, Dechen Shak-Dagsay, released her new double album on 29 October. Titled emaho – the Story of Arya Tara, it is available both as a double CD and on popular streaming and download platforms in stereo, and in Dolby Atmos® on VANDYKMUSIC Publishing.
“The new album arose from the need to make a contribution to calmness and self-discovery in the current difficult and unpredictable time, which means for many people uncertainty, fear and disorientation,” Dechen has told the press.
Dechen is a Swiss-Tibetan singer and book author who grew up in Switzerland and shares the Buddhist wisdom of her homeland through her music. She is the eldest daughter of the Ven. Dagsay Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama, who imparted to her the transmissions of the precious Tibetan mantras that she performs for audiences all over the world. She received numerous awards for her music, and her albums Jewel (one of my personal favourites) and Day Tomorrow brought Dechen and her ensemble to play at Carnegie Hall in New York. Dechen’s work stands for inner calm, love, compassion, reconciliation and peace. These themes, along with the uniqueness of her songwriting and singing, has resonated with listeners and attracted many global artists to collaborate with Dechen for even more fusion creations and collaborations. Thanks to the widespread popularity of her music, Dechen was able to found the Dewa Che charity organization, which engages in social projects in Tibet.
Dechen is a dear friend and I very much enjoy having her music on my own playlists. She has spent over two decades performing at major venues around the world, and, alongside her trusty long-time producer Helge van Dyk and various international artists like Tina Turner, made 11 albums, including a platinum record. Although Dechen has always felt inspired by the female Buddha, Tara, emaho – the Story of Arya Tara tells her story in full through Dechen’s uplifting original compositions. Arya Tara was a princess who, in a mythic time, overcame traditional gender restraints which were placed on women and became a Buddha, something her own spiritual teachers said was impossible.
The music includes a spectrum of different inspirations. Of course, there are the powerful Tibetan traditional chants that Dechen is well-known for; however, she also employs rap-like interpretations of mantra recitations. As expected of Dechen’s music While soothing and calm, the enchanting rhythms and melodies also inspire self-confidence and bring to life the various qualities of the protective goddess Tara. Dechen’s music is characterized by both her deep understanding of Tibetan culture and Buddhist teachings, as well as by her international background and heartfelt character.
According to Dechen, the ancient Tibetan expression “emaho” has a deep, multifaceted meaning. It is one of joy, wonder, and happiness. It essentially captures: “what an amazing, wondrous moment when the mind awakens.” This phrase captures Deche’s desire to bring her listeners closer to the healing power of the ancient Tibetan mantras and wisdom by making them more accessible through music, as it has always been for her albums. “Buddhist wisdom calls on people to improve themselves instead of looking for mistakes in others, and thus to find peace with ourselves and the world around us. In particular, the various aspects and powers of the protective goddess Tara, expressed in the album’s mantras, can help to achieve moments of joy: emaho.”
A special edition of the album in Full Dolby-Atmos (13: 1) will be released on Blu-ray in the spring of 2022. At the same time, there are plans to release emaho as a vinyl double album.