Tibetan singer and musician Loten Namling in a file photo.
DHARAMSHALA, May 16: A renowned Tibetan singer is all set to march, dragging a coffin as a symbol of the slow death of Tibet, from the Swiss capital of Bern to the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva beginning today.
Called ‘A Journey for Freedom – One Man, One Path, Free Tibet,’ Swiss based Tibetan singer Loten Namling hopes to draw international attention to the ongoing crisis inside Tibet with his march.
“Within the last year, no fewer than 35 Tibetans have self-immolated and yet the world is deaf to these desperate cries for help," Namling said in a release at the beginning of his march. "With my journey, I hope to change this.”
The singer who has popular albums such as White Crane and Songs of Tibet to his credit, said that in keeping with the religious tradition of Tibet, he will perform 35 prostrations every 35 minutes in memory of the self-immolators.
“Along the path to Geneva, I will honor the memory of these victims in the ancient Tibetan tradition by prostrating myself 35 times every 35 minutes,” Namling said.
The musician has set out five goals for his unique march, including drawing international attention to the “tragedy of Tibet’s current situation,” appealing China to “return” the Tibetan people their right to freedom, demanding the release of Tibetan political prisoners, and urging the UN to send a fact-finding delegation to Tibet.
Calling his final goal “specially important,” Namlingis is urging Switzerland, his exile home for the past 22 years, to initiate a dialogue between “the representatives of the Tibetan Exile Government and the Chinese.”
"Switzerland has a good reputation in world politics as a stable, peace-loving democracy,” Namling said. “If direct talks take place here, they are certain to be taken seriously."
On his long journey, the Tibetan singer also plans to hold Tibetan freedom concerts at each village along the way, with a major concert in the pipeline at the end of his march in Geneva.
“At the end of the journey, there will be a unique big concert with many of my international musician friends, including the legendary “Young Gods” singer Franz Treichler,” Namling added.
Loten Namling has traveled worldwide with his Tibetan lute, singing authentic traditional Tibetan songs and telling stories about his life-connecting the songs of the past to the reality of the present and inviting his audience on a musical journey through the landscape of Tibetan spirituality.
Loten traces his artistic journey back to his school days in Tibetan Children's Village, Dharamsala. He recalls how his family and Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts have been instrumental in furthering his musical pursuits. He has performed over 200 shows in around 12 countries so far. He plays dranynen, singing bowl, conch shell and drum.