“David Lewiston's recordings are among the great testimonies in sound of our time. Anyone who hears them will be struck by the mysterious yearnings, the transcendental manifestations of joy, and the fragility and impermanence that unite wildly diverse cultures in our planet: ultimately, they give us a sense of how much and how little we humans are as a species. These records continue to inspire me as much as those by Stravinsky, Miles Davis and any of the other masters of the past century. They are a treasure: life as it is truly lived and dreamed.” : Osvaldo Golijov, May 1, 2006

David Lewiston, the British-born producer whose adventurous ear and globe-trekking spirit led to a career spanning more than four decades and dozens of seminal recordings, most notably for the groundbreaking Nonesuch “Explorer” series, will make a rare New York appearance at the Rubin Museum of Art (RMA), on Wednesday, May 10, 2006. The Museum, which is dedicated to art from the Himalayas and surrounding regions, will present a panel discussion of Lewiston’s groundbreaking career at 7 PM and a special DJ tribute at its Friday night K2 Lounge on Friday, May 12. The Rubin Museum of Art is located at 150 West 17th Street (corner of 17th street & 7th Avenue), New York, NY 10011. Advance tickets ($12) to the panel can be purchased by calling 212.620.5000 ext. 344.

Prior the 1960s, when Mr. Lewiston’s field recordings were originally released, nobody imagined that “ethnic music” could be marketed as entertainment for discerning listeners. But his “Explorer” output, issued in brightly colored sleeves with detailed, engrossing liner notes and at a retail price that made aural globetrotting not only attractive but affordable, changed all that. Certain titles, especially the shimmering, multi-layered Indonesian soundscapes, became favorites with the era’s long-form FM radio stations. Side two of “Bali -Golden Rain”, which was devoted to a mesmerizing 22-minute “kecak” chant, was often aired uncut, with unintended results. “Tracey (aka Teresa Sterne -- 1927-2000, revolutionary A&R Coordinator of Nonesuch Records) told me that at WBAI, during late night music programs, the DJ would say ‘OK, light that joint, here it comes’!", Mr. Lewiston recalled with laugh. He later moved on to invaluable collaborations with the BBC Sound Archives, Bridge Records, Ellipsis Arts and Shanachie Records. For all his trademark self-effacing humor, the impact of Mr. Lewiston's "back of beyond" recordings has been immense, inspiring musicians from the Grateful Dead to Tim Buckley and composers including Osvaldo Golijov. The recent reissue of many of his Nonesuch titles on CD has introduced a new generation of world music fans to Lewiston’s extraordinary catalog.

For the past quarter-century, much of Lewiston’s time and energy have gone into documenting the rites of Tibetan Buddhism. In 1987 and 1994, he returned to Bali, spending eight months recording the island's music digitally. The late 1990s found him revisiting his favorite Himalayan communities plus recording the Sufi music of Fès, Morocco and the polyphonic folk songs of the Caucasus. At age seventy-six, Mr. Lewiston is primarily engaged in organizing and protecting his legacy of music from Indonesia, Asia, North Africa, and Central and South America. In early 2005, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences made a grant to begin conservation of the recordings in the Lewiston Archive. Mr. Lewiston is readying several recordings under the auspices of the Honolulu-based National Organization for Traditional Arts Exchange. The Archive also includes hundred of hours of traditional and sacred recordings that he hopes to preserve and make available for release in the coming years.

Having formerly been far too busy in the field to bother much with self-promotion, Mr. Lewiston is now committing himself to efforts to preserve a lifetime of recordings. The Rubin Museum of Art celebration May 10th –13th will allow this musical explorer to receive some of the accolades so long overdue. Lewiston lives on Maui, Hawaii and seldom visits the mainland, so a chance to enjoy his witty recollections at first-hand is a not-to-missed opportunity.

Panel participants on May 10th will be producer Joe Boyd, Washington Post music critic Tim Page, Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo, with an introduction by David Bither, Senior Vice President of Nonesuch Records.

Rubin Museum of Art
150 West 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tim McHenry, Director, Programming
Phone: 212-620-5000 x325

Events for David Lewiston

Wednesday, May 10
Participants to include David Lewiston, producer Joe Boyd, Washington Post music critic Tim Page, and Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo*
7 p.m. - $12 (includes admission to the Museum’s galleries before the event)
*Yungchen will be performing in NYC on May 5 at Columbia University’s Alfred Lerner Hall 114th Street and Broadway NYC. Concert sponsored by Tibet House, ticket info 866-468-7619

Music of the Himalayas DJ Event GlobeSonic Sound System dj’s Fabian Alsultany & Derek Beres spin global sounds drawing on inspiration from the Himalayas and South Asia at the Museum’s K2 Lounge.
Friday, May 12
6- 10 p.m.

Box Office: 212.620.5000 ext. 344

By Subway:
A, C and E to 14th St. 8th Avenue
1 to 18th St. 7th Avenue
1, 2, 3 to 14th St. 7th Avenue
F and V to 14th St. 6th Avenue
L to 14th St. 6th Avenue
N, R, Q, W, 4, 5 and 6 to 14th St. Union Square

By Bus:
B20 to corner of 7th Ave and 17th St.

Rubin Museum of Art (RMA) (www.rmanyc.org), the premier museum of Himalayan art in the Western world, was established in 2004. In the short time since its founding RMA has been universally recognized by newcomers and connoisseurs alike for how it has showcased the “arts of the Himalayas and where they lead you”. Through its collections and extensive public programming, the museum is both a resource to and a reflection of the diverse communities and heritages that live in or travel to the New York region.

The museum engages visitors through exhibitions, education and programming that invite a broad range of cultural and historical exploration. RMA drew over 100,000 visitors during its first year of operation and is expected to double attendance over the next year.

On view at any one time are numerous exhibitions – large and small (with themes such as the demonic divine, female Buddhas and medicine)– that draw from the Museum’s permanent collection. RMA also serves as a venue for traveling exhibitions, bringing to New York audiences such critically acclaimed exhibitions as Tibet: Treasures From the Roof of the World; Eternal Presence: Handprints and Footprints in Buddhist Art and the upcoming Sikh Art: I Know No Stranger.

RMA is supported by members, museum admissions, private donors, corporate and foundation sources.

Visit the Rubin Museum website at: www.rmanyc.org


David Lewiston is best known for his field recordings of the world's traditional music, for which he has received international recognition. During some four decades of field work in Indonesia, Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and Central and South America, he has created an unparalleled archive of some 320 hours of world music recordings. On many of his travels, he also created photographic documentation of the life and culture of the communities he visited. Lewiston studied composition at Trinity College of Music, London (1949-1952), and later with the Russian composer Thomas de Hartmann in New York.

A musician of broad interests, de Hartmann introduced Lewiston to the music of Central Asia. In the following years, Lewiston studied the traditional musics of the world, supporting himself by working as a financial news editor. In 1966 Lewiston travelled to Java and Bali, recording the music of the islands with one of the first portable stereo tape recorders. From this journey came the groundbreaking album "Music from the Morning of the World: Gamelan and Ketjak" the first of his 28 recordings for the Nonesuch Explorer Series. Lewiston spent much of 1967 and 1968 in South America, recording the Andean music of Peru, and the Black music of Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. In 1975-76 he visited Central America, documenting the marimba music of Guatemala and the fiestas of Chiapas and Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

Since 1972 he has travelled extensively in the Himalaya and Karakoram, documenting the music of the high mountains from Darjeeling and Sikkim in the East, to Himachal Pradesh, the Vale of Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit and Hunza in the West. Lewiston has made many friends among the Tibetans living in exile in India, and for the past quarter-century much of his time and energy have gone into conserving the rites of Tibetan Buddhism.


Selected Discography

Nonesuch Explorer Series

Music from the Morning of the World – The Balinese Gamelan (LP 1967)
Golden Rain – Balinese Gamelan and Ketjak (LP 1969)
Music from the Morning of the World (CD compilation 9-79196; Japan WPCS-5106)
Bali – Gamelan and Kecak (1989, digital recording, CD 9-79204; Japan WPCS-5107)
Jasmine Isle – The Javanese Gamelan (LP 1969)

Himalaya & Karakoram
Tibetan Buddhism: Tantras of Gyütö – Mahakala (LP 1973)†
Tibetan Buddhism: Tantras of Gyütö – Sangwa Düpa (LP 1975)
Tibetan Buddhism: Tantras of Gyütö – Sangwa Düpa / Mahakala
(CD re-issue compiled from above two albums, 9 79198; Japan WPCS-5111)
Tibetan Buddhism: Ritual Orchestra & Chants (LP 1976; CD 9 72071; WPCS 5110)
Tibetan Buddhism: Shedur – A Ghost Exorcism (LP 1979; CD Japan WPCS-5220)
Kashmir – Traditional Songs & Dances, Vol. I (LP 1974; CD Japan WPCS-5213)
Kashmir – Traditional Songs & Dances, Vol. II (LP 1976; CD Japan WPCS-5214)
Festivals of the Himalayas, Vol. I (LP 1975; CD Japan WPCS-5215)
Festivals of the Himalayas, Vol. II (LP 1978; CD Japan WPCS-5216)
Music of the Karakorams – Gilgit & Hunza (LP 1975; CD Japan WPCS-5222)
Ladakh – Songs & Dances from Western Tibet (LP 1978; CD Japan WPCS-5221)

India and Pakistan
Master of the Sarangi – Ram Narayan (LP 1975)
The Bengal Minstrel – Music of the Bauls (LP 1975; CD Japan WPCS-5211)
Qawwali – Sufi Music from Pakistan (LP 1978; CD 9 72080; Japan WPCS-5109)

The Orient
P'ansori – Korea's Epic Vocal Art & Instrumental Music (LP 1975; CD 9 72049)
China – Shantung Folk Music (LP 1972)
Pipa – The Chinese Lute (LP 1981; CD 9 72085)
Japan – Traditional Vocal & Instrumental Music (LP 1972; CD 9 72072)
Shakuhachi – The Japanese Flute (LP 1977; CD 9 72076; Japan WPCS-5101)
Japan – Kabuki and Other Traditional Music (LP 1980; CD 9 72084)

Central and South America
Kingdom of the Sun – Peru's Inca Heritage (LP 1969)
Fiestas of Peru – Music of the High Andes (LP 1972)
Kingdom of the Sun / Fiestas of Peru (abridged CD 9 79197; Japan WPCS-5125)
Black Music of South America (LP 1970; CD, Japanese edition WPCS-5243)
Mexico – Fiestas of Chiapas and Oaxaca (LP 1976; CD 9 72070; Japan WPCS-5128)

Middle East
A Persian Heritage – Classical Music of Iran (LP 1974; CD 9 72060)

†Grand Prix International du Disque

BBC Sound Archives
(These recordings are not available commercially.)
Music of Colombia and Ecuador (LP, 1971)
Music of Peru and Bolivia (LP, 1971)
Music of Chile, Brazil and Bolivia (LP, 1971)
Music of South America and Asia (LP, 1971)
Music of Ladakh (LP, 1975)
Music of Southern Mexico (LP, 1976)
Music of Kashmir (LP, 1976)
Music of Tibet (LP, 1978)
Music of Guatemala (LP, 1978)

Bridge Records
Tibetan Buddhism – Shartse College of Ganden Monastery (CD 1989, BCD 9015)
Kecak – A Balinese Music Drama (CD 1990, BCD 9019)

Ellipsis Arts
Trance 1 (64-page book and CD, 1995):
Tibetan Buddhism, “Yamantaka Rite” performed by Shartse College of Ganden Monastery; “Dhrupad,” North Indian devotional vocal music, performed by Zahiruddin Dagar and Wasifuddin Dagar.

Trance 2 (64-page book and CD, 1995):
“Bali Hindu Trance Music.”

Tibetan Buddhism: Heart of Dharma (64-page book and CD, 1997, #4050)
Four prayers – “Ngontog Gyan,” “Gaden Lhagyama,” “Shar Gang-ri Ma,” and “Palden Yonten” – of Loseling Dratsang of Drepung Monastery, “Tsedrup” (Long Life Empowerment of Padmasambhava) of Khampagar Monastery.

One Sound (64-page book and CD, 2000)
Loseling Dratsang of Drepung Monastery, “Mandel Tachen”; Ritual Orchestra of Khampagar Monastery, “Conclusion of the Dorje Phurba Dance Rite.”

Shanachie Records

The Diamond Path: Tibetan Buddhist Rituals (CD 1998, 66006)
“Yamantaka Trochu” rite of Khampagar Monastery