Don’t look now, but The Dalai Lama is set to release his very own album. Entitled Inner World, the 11-track LP is due out on July 6th to coincide with the spiritual leader’s 85th birthday.
Inner World pairs The Dalai Lama’s mantras and chants alongside ethereal, new age music composed by New Zealand artists Junelle and Abraham Kunin. Below, you can hear the track called “Compassion”.
During a 2015 trip to India, Junelle Kunin delivered a handwritten letter to one of The Dalai Lama’s assistants, pitching His Holiness on the idea of pairing his teachings with original music. Recalling their time together in the recording studio, Junelle said The Dalai Lama “was so excited … he actually proceeded to explain to me how important music is.”
“He leaned forward and his eyes were sparkling, and his fingers were rubbing together and he [talked] about how music can help people in a way that he can’t; it can transcend differences and return us to our true nature and our good heartedness,” Junelle added.
In addition to the Kunins, Inner World features contributions from sitar player Anoushka Shankar (daughter of Ravi Shankar), who appears “Am La”.
Net proceeds from the album will benefit the Mind & Life Institute and Social, Emotional and Ethical Learning, an international education program The Dalai Lama developed with Emory University (via Rolling Stone).
Believe it or not, The Dalai Lama is not the first spiritual leader to put out an album. Back in 2015, Pope Francis released Wake Up!, which paired his speeches alongside prog-rock music from the band Le Orme.