Tibetan Ritual Music By Lamas And Monks – Lyrichord Records – 1962

Offering Of The Savior Gompo / Invocation Of Gompo / A Buddha Prayer

Offering To The Guru / Glorification Of The Past Buddha

Four Gelugpa monks blowing ceremonial horns on the roof of Kundeling monastery. Two blow extendable trumpets, or radung, the ends of which are supported on ornate gilt trumpet stands decorated with eight auspicious Buddhist emblems and floral motifs. The monks wear yellow hats, maroon robes, brocade holy water bottles and felt and leather boots. Cylindrical Banners, which are auspicious emblems used as roof decoration, are decorated with pearls of wisdom and a trident on the top. The banner in the foreground is especially elaborate.

Where to start?

As the title suggests, these field recordings were performed by Monks and Lamas (of the four great orders) for the benefit of Lyrichord Records. This New York based record label has existed since 1950 and has recorded and released most (folk) music from all over the planet since that time.

The message inscribed on the paper record label states: ‘exceptional LP records for the discerning listener’, which just about sums it up. I love these kind of small details on old records, it does really rock my boat. Love it.

I decided to upload this record because

1: That pesky Olympic flame is up Everest right now. The roof of the world.

2: Some Puppie commentators requested some Tibetan music many months ago now on a separate post, Simon and Pavlik possibly, can not remember…

3: Early Psychic TV and 23 Skidoo, two of my faves, both lifted most of their early sound, right off these kind of recordings. 

4: After reading the 200 odd horror comments re: Campbell Buildings etc, courtesy of various Heretics, and friends of, on the ‘Chris Low Obscure Punk’ post, I thought it would be nice to chill out a tad, and put that, injecting nescafe up a vein with a dirty needle image, to one side for a while. Urrgghh.

5: I love a big horn in my music, these recordings are no exception. There are some big old horns on show here.


Three partly painted bronzes of Gelugpa lamas in Gautsa Monastery. Behind the statues repeating images of Buddha can be seen on the wall fresco. The images are placed upon wooden chests, which have been painted decoratively. Two shelves can be seen on the right and left side walls of the alcove containing the images. The shelf on the left has a textile cushion on top, whilst that on the right has been highly decorated. A box can be seen in the left hand corner of the alcove with a bowl on top containing khatak or offering scarves. All the images have had white offering scarves draped over their hands. A piece of discoloured cloth can be seen on the extreme right of the image.

Monks practising playing radung horns.

Photos from 1936 British Museum.

Sleeve notes below:

Bigger text here

Bigger text here

Bigger text here

A formal portrait of the Reting Regent seated on a throne with ritual objects to his right, a painted scroll or thangka, possibly of Heruka, above his head, brocade hangings with a predominantly dragon and cloud pattern on the wall, flowerpots on a carpet with flower motifs on the floor. Directly below the throne, which is approximately a metre high, there is a decorative woven hanging with a crossed thunderbolt or dorje motif in the centre surrounded by ten auspicious symbols and four swastika symbols in the corners.

Photo 1940 British Museum.

  1. Justin
    May 12, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I remember reading about Hitler’s fascination with the Tibetan monks and their rituals. Apparently they even found some Tibetan monks in bombed out Berlin in 1944. Has anybody seen any photos of this?

    I know that the swastika was taken from Hindu culture (and not even reversed, as some have claimed – saw it with my own eyes in Bali once – spooky stuff).

  2. Justin
    May 12, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Oh, yeah, before anyone says, I know the Tibetan monks are buddist, but the dominant religion in Bali is Hinduism. I think the symbol exists in both religions.

  3. alistairliv
    May 12, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    Justin – Channel 4 broadcast a documentary in 2004 about a Nazi Expedition to Tibet . Do a google search on “Nazi Expedition Tibet” and you will find more details about the documentary and the background.

  4. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    May 13, 2008 at 12:03 am

    The swastika has quite a history if you care to read up here it is.


    Also added a photo from 1940 with the sign on the cerimonial sheet.

  5. Penguin
    Penguin • Post Author •
    November 16, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Ere Baron Von Z, you ever passed through Tibet at all?

  6. Dee
    February 6, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Whoa! At last i found infos on this record that had indelibly marked my aural experiences since the first time i listened to it (late 80s, or maybe early 1990) in Lotos record shop in Salonica, Greece.
    Very deep & otherworldly vibrations…all recordings in this album but esp. the last track (Glorification of the Past Buddha) have hallucinogenic properties.
    Thanks for this upload.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *