Tashi Lhunpo Monks

Masked dance and sacred chant by monks from a Tibetan Monastery

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FROM THE ROOF OF THE WORLD – Sacred Sounds from Tibet
One hundred years ago Buddhist monks from Tibet toured the UK for the first time, performing at screenings of Captain John Noel’s seminal silent film ‘The Epic of Everest’ documenting the unsuccessful summit attempt of 1924 which led to the tragic death of climbers Mallory and Irvine. The monks’ visit to the UK was arranged by the filmmaker without the permission of the Tibetan authorities and provoked the wrath of the 13th Dalai Lama as well as public outrage at what was perceived as a performance by ‘devil dancers’ on the London stage. The resulting scandal, known as ‘The Affair of the Dancing Lamas’ brought to an untimely end any further exploration of Everest by the British for almost a decade.

In 2024-5 a group of Tibetan monks will again bring their culture to the UK, this time with the support of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, performing chant, music and masked dance in theatres and art centres throughout the country.

‘From the Roof of the World’ illustrates the contrast between 1920s religious orthodoxy and fear of the unknown with the freedom that Tibetan Buddhist monks now have to share their unique culture in the west a century later.

'A psychedelic whirl of chanting, dancing, drums & cymbals.' The Times
'A rich tradition of sacred dance music and song. The physical and the spiritual in equal balance.' The Guardian
'What Humanity needs right now.' Songlines Magazine
'Festival favourites whenever they venture from their exile base in southern India.' Financial Times
'A magical universe of reincarnation and release.' The Independent
'Exhilarating multi-layered rhythmic recitation of chants: a shimmering monument of polyphonic sonority.'
The Rough Guide to World Music
'Festival favourites…' Financial Times

Tours by Tibetan monks from Tashi Lhunpo Monastery are organised by their UK Trust formed in 2003 with HH Dalai Lama as Patron. The monks now live in exile South India, and the tours enable them to share their culture and to raise funds so they can continue their studies.

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, founded by the first Dalai Lama in the 15th Century, and the seat of the Panchen Lama, is one of the most important monasteries in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Now re-established in exile in South India, the monastery is once again becoming one of the major centres of learning, best known for its artistic tradition of masked dances and sacred music. The performance offers a rare opportunity to witness a unique and endangered culture.


participating in

  • WOMEX 2023
  • WOMEX, Digital Edition, feat. Budapest Ritmo
  • WOMEX 2016
  • WOMEX 2013
  • WOMEX 2010
  • WOMEX 2008
  • WOMEX 2006
  • WOMEX 2005


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Tashi Lhunpo Monks