Laurie Anderson, Tenzin Choegyal, Jesse Paris Smith From Songs From The Bardo © Smithsonian Folkways Recordings 2019.
The Bardo Thodol, or The Tibetan Book of the Dead, as it is known in English since the earliest translation appeared in 1927. This sacred Tibetan Buddhist text lays out detailed descriptions of the forty-nine-day journey of our consciousness from the moment of death to our next rebirth.
Songs From The Bardo begins with a bell ringing out once, twice, three times, as a ritualistic chant emerges from the dense silence. The collaborative composition by avant-garde iconoclast Laurie Anderson, Tibetan multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal, and composer and activist Jesse Paris Smith is a guided journey through the visionary text of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, unfolding in an 80-minute ebb and flow of sound and words. Songs From The Bardo is a transporting experience, meant to draw the listener into the present moment and provide a framework for inner exploration. Modern compositional techniques are fused with the mystique of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy to make these visionary traditions more accessible to a new generation of listeners and to reveal the ancient wisdom contained within
The Bardo as theme is also explored in Heart Of A Dog, the first feature film in thirty years by multimedia artist Laurie Anderson. A cinematic tone poem that flows from a sustained sublime meditation on death and other forms of absence, the film seamlessly weaves together thoughts on Tibetan Buddhism, reincarnation, the modern surveillance state, and the artistic lives of dogs, with an elegy for the filmmaker’s beloved rat terrier, Lolabelle, at its heart. Narrated by Anderson with her characteristic wit, and featuring a plaintive, free-form score by the filmmaker, the tender and provocative Heart Of A Dog continues Anderson’s four-and-a-half-decade career of imbuing the everyday with a sense of dreamlike wonder. Tops Wonder. Wisdom Words. Worthy Watchlist.
Heart Of A Dog, 2015, A Poetry In Motion Meditation In Action Cinematic Journey Through Love, Death & Language By Laurie Anderson. A beautiful and deeply hypnotic collage-like visual language is created out of the raw materials of her life and art, examining how stories are constructed and told ~ and how we use them to make sense of our lives.