|Festival Report||Free Spirit Photos|
Tibetan culture would not have been as it is today without influences from China,India, Mongolia, Nepal and Kashmir. As culture is not something static but something which should keep developing, the Free Spirit Festival was based on showing specifically the talents from younger generation Tibetans through an array of artistic expressions such as photography, painting,sculpture, information technology, music, fashion designing and other creative arts.
As such, on the 25th of November, 2000, a few Tibetans exhibited their works of art at the Tibetan Institute of Performing arts, Dharamsala. Five photographers, which included three Tibetans, exhibited their photography. Moonpeak Pictures was kind enough to print all the photos. Different painting styles from five painters exposed their paintings. A sculptor, Lobsang Dhonyou, displayed his sculptures.
Other pieces of art collections, information on the situation of Tibet and environmental awareness centres were installed. A number of eating points served traditional food.
A character from the Tibetan Opera, Ngonpa, danced to the music "Shakedown Street" by The Grateful Dead was presented by Brian from America. Tehor’s Liondance was the day's biggest attraction which was partly danced to some house techno music.
As the day drew to dusk, monks from Diptsechok Ling Monastery consecrated the stage for the evening's show. Firecrackers illuminated the evening sky which was followed by the logo of the festival "Free Spirit" being lit up in red and blue and raised onto the stage.
Thangtong Lugar presented the first show of the night with a traditional Tibetan song and the famous Dranyen Shabdro, a quick tap-dance to the Tibetan guitar. His two other partners came all the way from Dehra Dun.
A trio of Ashok (the Dharamsala Ustad Zakir), Hans and Hania played some classical Indian ragas. Mandolin followed the trio played by two Amdo boys. Next came a Native American chant from France with her Jambay; many thought she was the talent of the night and Brian with his smaller Jambay teamed up with France.
Ult Mundane blew the night sky with his Dij. He came all the way from Varanasi for the show! The promoter of the festival, Lobsang Wangyal, came next to dance to the music "Think" by Aretha Franklin. That was an appetizer for the crowd to shake their bodies.
Flying Saucers, or should I say the band mixed of Los Lobo, The Eagles, Dire Straits and Pink Floyd ... The air reverberated as some famous numbers shined on the stage through the Flying Saucers. Born Refugees in their second show ever; their debut was the day before, presented both a patriotic and a love song.
JJI exile brothers, a band of three brothers, wound up the evening concert with their Tibetan version of heavy metal stuff.
It was not over yet. France got up to start her unfinished attempt to make everybody shake their bodies. The rest of the artists joined her and the real jam started.
Today, as the Tibetans face the threat of loosing their identity in their own land, the promoter, Lobsang Wangyal, intends to bring over a dozen Native Americans to share ideas about how to confront threats when the natives become minority in their own land.
The festival is organised as a non profit event to promote art, peace and justice, any donations will be tax deductible.