Tara is a goddess of protection who can bring speedy, practical help, dispel fears and internal obstacles and doubts. This popular Tibetan Buddhist deity is known in many forms and colors (Green Tara, White Tara, etc.). Each aspect of Tara is distinguished with a unique variation on the “Om tare tuttare ture swaha” mantra. This beautiful CD features a collection of recordings of Tara mantras by performers from around the globe.

Traditional and modern renditions represent a spectrum of approaches to honoring this great goddess. The CD opens with an ethereal “Om Tare” by Wha! The group HARC offers a compelling duet of two female vocalists twining haunting melodies back and forth, repeating the mantra in a hypnotic westernized setting. On track 7, Chloe Goodchild sings praises in English over a Sanskrit Tara chant while accompanied a western setting reminiscent of Clannad. On track 5, Maneesh de Moor and Sudha supply a rendition accompanied by luscious orchestral textures.

Notable Tibetan dignitaries appear on the set list, including Her Emminence Jamyang Sakya, the matriarch of the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, who performs a Tara chant a capella. His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV chants over an instrumental accompaniment that rises and cascades. His deep-voiced chant will rock your chakhras back into balance. Other Eastern musical luminaries include Deva Premal and the Gyuto Monks of Tibet and Jetsun Kacho Wangmo. The grand finale, track 11, features vocals by Dechen Shak-Dagsay. Opening with bird song and the nature sounds, the New Age-style accompaniment builds in layers through the nine-minute performance, swelling with textures and instruments toward a dramatic climax. 

Each performance is a different setting of a mantra jewel. Eastern and Western artists present culturally specific settings of the mantra, but some performances offer a fascinating merger of east and west. The world music and the western New Age genres have merged into an East-West fusion genre.

Highly recommended for those interested in mantra settings, music for meditation, and Tara devotees. Beautiful!

~review by Elizabeth Hazel

Artists: Various
Sounds True 2011. 69 minutes