Since fleeing Tibet on foot in 1989, Yungchen Lhamo, whose name means, "Goddess of Melody and Song," has emerged on the world stage as the leading Tibetan vocalist. Listen to her voice and her name comes alive. It is vastly feminine, suggesting a transcendent intimacy with the Great Perfection and a deeply personal, almost melancholic, longing to return to her homeland; a transcendence that has walked atop the Himalayas, an immanence that has lived and slept in refugee camps, amongst her own dislocated people. From performing for His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, to the spotlight of Carnegie Hall, her a cappella performances have entranced audiences in more than 70 countries.
Yunchen Lhamo's first independently released album, Tibetan Prayer, won the Australian Recording Industry Award for Best World Music Release in 1995 and led to her being discovered and signed by Peter Gabriel's Real World Records. Since then she has released two critically acclaimed albums, Tibet, Tibet and Coming Home. She performed with Natalie Merchant on her platinum-selling album, Ophelia, graced the album, Lilith Fair: A Celebration of Women in Music, with her voice, and sang for the soundtrack to the film Seven Years in Tibet. Yungchen was recently featured as a Real World artist in a National Geographic television special, Songs Under a Big Sky. She has performed alongside Philip Glass, Annie Lennox, Michael Stipe, Sheryl Crow, and Billy Corgan.
Born in a labor camp outside Lhasa in Chinese-occupied Tibet, Yungchen worked in a carpet-weaving factory beginning at the age of five. Although singing was one of many customs banned by the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Yungchen's grandmother taught her devotional song. When she fled Tibet, on a dangerous, brutal 1,000-mile escape across the Himalayas, she left everything but her beautiful voice and her devotion behind.
Yungchen performs in support of many Tibetan organizations, such as The Milarepa Fund, Students For a Free Tibet, Tibet Relief Fund, and The Dalai Lama Trust New Zealand, as well as for aid groups such as Amnesty International, Walk Against Want, and the Reebok Human Rights Awards. In 1997, seeking to address the dangers faced by Tibetans worldwide, Yungchen created a foundation to help Tibetans, particularly Tibetan women, in the occupied territories and Tibetan refugees throughout the world.
Yungchen is currently at work on her much awaited fourth album. She lives in New York City and performs at a variety of international venues. She longs to return to her home in Tibet.
Real World, 1998
Narada Publications Audio, 1996