The Dalai Lama will launch his first album, Inner World, on July 6 to coincide with the spiritual leader’s 85th birthday. The album will comprise of the Dalai Lama’s teachings and incantations, accompanied by music performed on more than 30 instruments.
‘Compassion’, one of the 11 tracks in the album, was released in advance on Tuesday. ‘Compassion’ is one of the most famous Buddhist prayers. Inner World will also feature a guest appearance from acclaimed sitar player Anoushka Shankar, who appears on the album cut ‘Am La’.
The Dalai Lama made Inner World with the help of Junelle and Abraham Kunin, two married musicians from New Zealand. According to a report by AP, Junelle first suggested the idea to the Dalai Lama’s office a few years ago after a futile search for the spiritual leader’s teachings paired with music as a stress-buster. She proposed the idea while she was working at a bank in New Zealand, but her request was turned down. Five years earlier, when Junelle, also a practicing Buddhist, handed over a written request to one of his assistants during her visit to India.
“I’d never heard him speak like this. He really was so excited … he actually proceeded to explain to me how important music is Junelle told AP. Her husband had multiple roles, from playing guitar and percussion to drum and synth programming in the album. Junelle co-produced the album and added vocals to three songs, including ‘Purification.’
Net proceeds from Inner World benefit the Mind & Life Institute as well as Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning, an international education program the Dalai Lama developed with Emory University.