“This is where your world and my world meet.” – Tashi Tsering, Royal Tibetan Court Singer in Lo Mothang, Nepal.
When composer Andrea Clearfield accepted a commission from Network for New Music to collaborate with visual artist Maureen Drdak on a new work, she didn’t know it, but her life was about to change forever. As part of the commission, Maureen invited Andrea to join her and ethnomusicologist Katey Blumenthal to travel to the remote, restricted northern Himalayan region of Lo Monthang, Nepal to research and record the area’s indigenous Tibetan folk music. The royal court singer of Lo Monthang was aging, and with no willing heirs to learn his repertoire, songs passed down orally for generations were being lost. Under the auspices of the Rubin Foundation, the three women recorded 130 songs previously undocumented that were then sent back to the village on horseback with boom boxes, cassette tapes, headsets, and batteries so that the children could learn the music. Their recordings are now part of The University of Cambridge World Oral Literature Project, dedicated to the preservation of endangered languages. Join Amy Scurria and Anna Linvill this week as we speak with Andrea Clearfield about this powerful experience and its impact on her work.