Various Artists

Sri Lanka -- Buddhist Chant

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Wolfgang Laade's field recording of the Monks of the Madangalla Pirivena is subtitled Maha Pirit -- The Great Chant. Recorded in 1979 and released in this Zurich-based Jecklin Musikhaus label's Music of Man Archive series, it is another rare example of Buddhist music from the subcontinent -- Tibet, China and Thailand are far better represented, especially Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. The Pirit of the subtitle is a Sanskrit-derived Sinhalese term meaning 'protection.' This is extended to mean a ceremony to ward off evil. As practised in Sri Lanka (the former Ceylon) such ceremonies may also be held, as the notes explain, to gain blessing for undertakings, ranging from the opening of a new business to the opening of a new dam.