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The Gift of Musical Truths

The Buddhist Channel, August 6, 2006

New portal promises to bring together Buddhist musicians from around the world

Subang Jaya, Malaysia -- Music has been and will always be the universal language of humankind. For most parts of the world, in most religions, music forms an integral component of worship. For a long while, music in Buddhist practice has been limited to chanting and traditional plain chants. Such use of music has been known to inspire one towards cultivating the Dhamma as well serving as an introduction to new Truth seekers.

It is interesting to note that Buddhist music that started in different countries remain largely confined in the country of origin. Of late, thanks to modern communication network, more Buddhist music can be found on the internet, especially through online music stores. It is through such opportunities made available in the world wide web that two brothers from Malaysia saw the opportunity to foster the development of Buddhist music.  

Project BuddhistSound.com (www.buddhistsound.com) was conceived back in mid 2005 by Roland Lee and Brian Lee. Both are practicing Buddhists, who have been regularly involved with Buddhist activities in the local centers. Due to their busy schedule however, the project was only launched just this month, in conjunction with it’s affiliation with the Buddhist Channel.

Largest Buddhist music community online

According to Roland, BuddhistSound.com plans to be “the central” of Buddhist music. “It aspires to be the largest Buddhist music community online. We hope that the facility will connect Buddhists through music around the globe,” he enthused.

Anyone who wishes to be a member of BuddhistSound.com can do so by registering for free. Registered members will be listed in a “Community Database”. Once listed, one’s talent will be available for easy finding through a cleverly modulated search platform.

Apart from talent search, one will also be able to locate anything which is related to music through the system, such as recording studios, music shops, composers, arrangers, singers and musical fellowships. “We hope that Buddhist music lovers, whether producers or users will make use of the facility made available in BuddhistSound.com as a means of Dharma outreach through their musical talent,” said Roland.

Buddhist Music Online Store

Apart from being a niche community platform, BuddhistSound.com also has an online store that sells Buddhist music and chants. It hopes to house a variety of Buddhist music from different countries, styles, languages, origins and schools. Inspired by iTunes, BuddhistSound.com currently promotes albums and songs in mp3 formats.

To make a purchase via the online store, one needs to register first as a member of BuddhistSound.com community. Short clips of the songs can be sampled before purchasing is made. One can also buy the full album or combination of songs from different albums.

The online store system introduced in BuddhistSound.com promises to be a boon for producers. As no hard copies are required in sales and purchase, it greatly reduces the cost of production. This applies for new albums as well as reprints.

For budding artistes, the good news is that they do not need to cut an entire album before marketing their composition. They can produce one song at a time and start selling it on BuddhistSound.com. Once they have accumulated a sufficient number of songs, they can then package them as an album if they choose to.

“It’s basically a win-win situation which we hope to promote,” explains Roland. “We believe that the iTune facility which we are spearheading in BuddhistSound.com will reduce production and marketing costs. We hope that this will encourage the development of new Buddhist songs/albums by more groups,” he adds.

Musical gifts

Musical Dana is another highlight of BuddhistSound.com. Basically a “freebie” section, BuddhistSound.com hopes to build up a library of musical scores and chants from every country which will be shared as free download. In this section, one can find free music and chants of all kinds. Whether the works are professionally recorded or produced in one’s backyard, all are welcome to share them here.

As the mastermind behind Musical Dana, Roland says that the site welcomes anyone who has composed news songs and melodies to share it freely here. “We would like those who wish to share their work to be a little bit more imaginative,” he adds, saying that it would be nice if “a virtual collaboration of sorts would come out of the effort, like having someone adding in lyrics to the melody, or that the composition comes in the form of ring tones and wall papers.”

Keep updated via online forum

Another community building facility in the form of the Buddhist Sound Forum allows registered members to be kept updated on the Buddhist music scene. Among the forum threads include announcement of activities, the launch of new albums and sharing comments on songs.

“We encourage the sharing of knowledge especially in the process of composing Buddhist songs. It would be good if people could pick up skills like learning how to produce an album, or get tips and insights on making good composition, or even adapting spiritual elements into contemporary rhythms,” says Roland.

Roland adds that there are many interesting programs in the pipeline. As the project is still in its infancy, BuddhistSound.com needs all the support from Buddhist music enthusiasts.

As the basis of BuddhistSound.com is established on linking up the Buddhist musical fraternity, be they students, professional and amateur composers, artistes, music shop owners, singers – young and old, the founders believe that in no time it will establish itself as a ground breaking media to propagate the Dharma is a more contemporary way.

From the looks of it, given the enthusiasm shown by its followers at its high tempo launch, BuddhistSound.com need not wait too long to break open the musical vault.

May the sounds and melody of Dharma inspired songs and chants permeate to all corners of the world.

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What you’ll see when you get to BuddhistSound.com.

Registration
Just go to the main page and click register. Fill in your information, create your ID and pass word, then press enter. It is that simple!

Sharing a composition
If you wish to contribute by recording a song on your mp3 player for others to share, please do so. Send it by e-mail. If it is appropriate, BS will host it within a week. But do include personal information in the email. This can also be a venue where new talent can be discovered, knowledge can be shared and new Buddhist musicians inspired. However, please do not send works of others without permission. BuddhistSound.com supports Copyright of original materials.



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