Written by Susan Shannon, Himalayan Resource Center
Free Tibet Concert in Alaska: Peace, Beauty and Indigenous Cultures
The First Free Tibet Concert in Alaska will take place on January 10th, 2009, at the Atwood Concert Hall in Anchorage, Alaska. Organizers Karma Lama and Paola Pivi say the goal of this concert is to raise awareness of the plight of Tibetans in Tibet, but also point out that many indigenous cultures are in need of world support in order to preserve the preciousness of their own peoples, customs, and land. The promoters acknowledge the political implications of raising awareness in these areas, but emphasize that this concert is more about peace and beauty.
The concert will feature internationally known Tibetans such as Ngawang Sangdrol, former political prisoner and one of the 14 Drapchi Singing Nuns, as well as world class Tibetan performer Yungchen Lhamo, appearing for her first time in Alaska. Sharing the bill will be Karma Lama’s own band Culture Brothers, with their unique blend of Tibetan/Yu’pik world music. Karma will play a multitude of traditional Tibetan instruments as well as guitar, flute, djembe and mystical magical vocals. The eclectic Culture Brothers will be made even more unique by the inclusion of various talented indigenous artists from Alaska as well as 2 young Ethiopian girls.
The local but internationally known Inuit/Yu’pik “tribal funk” band Pamyua are also on the bill. Pamyua’s third album, “Caught in the Act” won Record of the Year at the 2003 Native American Music Awards. The same year, the band was invited to perform at the Grammys as representatives of Native American music.
In spite of headlining with internationally known stars and being held at a world-class venue, this Free Tibet Concert is just that-Free. Tickets are free. Food and snacks are free. This innovative approach is part of a deeper philosophy shared by the promoters. “We believe that if people cannot buy anything, they will go home with all the things they learned, all the beautiful music they listened to for free, all the moving and upsetting information they will have heard, and they will have to deal with this information in a deeper way.” It is hoped that concert goers will later make donations to some of the human rights organizations which will be listed on the concert website and flyers. The concert will be videotaped by Bill Bacon and Brad Swenson and made available for viewing after the show. For further information about this show or the bands listed, please visit