Dewa Che (the Great Peace)

Dechen Shak-Dagsay

New Earth Records, 2005

REVIEW BY: Tammy Childs


As mystical as the health benefits of yoga, tai chi or qi gong, Dechen Shak-Dagsay graces the world of the listener with peaceful serenity on Dewa Che, her debut CD.

Dechen draws from ancient mantras and adds calming music and modest vocalizations. She is a natural artist, having no official training. This contributes to the beauty of her songs -- they are untarnished by formality and unlimited by structure. She performs on the monochord as she sings, using it as a soothing backdrop.

Ms. Shak-Dagsay is the eldest daughter of a Tibetan lama. She resides in Switzerland and has fixed her attention on preserving traditional Tibetan songs and dancing. She strives to bring awareness of these arts to Western people.

Her pieces are lengthy, ranging from 4:44 to 10:15 minutes, but the time flows by as the tensions of the day fade away. Intended as an accompaniment for meditation or martial arts, this album has a variety of mantras. Each has a deeper purpose. They can be used for yoga (which is a method of discipline to cleanse mind and body), tai chi (Taoist discipline art form used for health and longevity) or qi gong (the skill of attracting vital energy through movement and meditation). But they can also be used for something as simple as relaxation.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Pure and tranquil, "Men-Lha" (medicine-Buddha mantra) has the clarity of calm waters. It has a de-stressing effect that sinks deep into the psyche leaving you reflective and without resistance. Its built-in purpose is for medicinal value, to improve health.

Spiritually arousing, "Dori-Semp" (Vijra-Sattva mantra) is used to cleanse the system of all spiritual and physical disorders. Musically it is enchanting and alleviates all feelings of anxiety and aggravation.

"Ohpa-Me" (Amitabha mantra) helps the listener to visualize the "pure land" -- a form of paradise. Her voice is the musical instrument by which she projects the message. Her angelic vocals carry this and all other songs like a feather that is carried by the wind. She attempts to help readjust the focus of the listener to something more pleasant and enlightening.

"Tshe-Pak-Me" (long life mantra) is an invocation for the eternal energy of life. Vocally more active on this song, and with a stronger pace, we are encouraged to find inner peace regardless of the chaos going on around us. We then can begin to not only heal ourselves but also those with whom we come in contact.

To do that you must also overcome obstacles, "Namgyel-Ma" (Vijaya-Devi mantra) serves this purpose. Using the serenity of her voice she passionately reinforces the idea of seeing past the present situation/problem and to visualize the future. Her haunting vocals are the foundation of the piece -- the chant is repeated and eases away the discomfort of the mind. "People that are constantly exposed to a lot of tension at work need to find a way to relax and find inner peace." She blends her knowledge of the Western world with the highly spiritual wisdom of her Tibetan mother's teaching.

Whether or not you believe in the Buddhist way of life, you should not dismiss the character that is displayed by those that use their beliefs as a means of guidance into a life of positivity and good health. We need to purge ourselves of the lascivious negativity that impedes personal and spiritual growth. Ms. Shak-Dagsay easily makes the day's frustrations fade to nothing. She is a warm glow in a dark sky. She promotes self-healing -- becoming aware of your own body's language, and learning to listen and respond when it speaks. For those seeking inner peace, don't poo-poo the power of this positive contribution as the first step. As her CD states, "people who have learned to respond to the inner waves of discontent and keep them under control radiate peace and contentment."

The gate is open, will you walk through?

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Rating: A

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© 2005 Tammy Childs and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of New Earth Records, and is used for informational purposes only.