The Dalai Lama has dropped his debut album, titled Inner World, in celebration of His Holiness’ 85th birthday (July 6). The record combines mantras and chants set against new age music composed by New Zealand musicians and practicing Buddhists Junelle and Abraham Kunin. Listen to it below.
The idea for the project goes back to 2015, when Junelle Kunin wrote a handwritten letter to one of The Dalai Lama’s assistants, pitching what would become Inner World. “I’d never heard him speak like this,” she said said in an AP story that announced the album back in June. “He really 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.”
The album was also accompanied by a livestream, which featured appearances from Richard Gere and Anoushka Shankar, the daughter of Ravi Shankar, who is featured on one of the album’s tracks. Watch that below as well.