Some questions from Karin Kämpf (owner & founder By Adushka) to our friend, mantra singer and book author Dechen Shak-Dagsay, just a few days before her concerts in Basel and Zürich.
A Swiss/Tibetan artist and daughter of a Tibetan Lama, who shares her values and talents and meditative mantras all over the globe.
Dechen combines the ancient Tibetan mantras of her heritage with Western music composed by Helge van Dyk and has been playing her music at places like Carnegie Hall in New York, at the Dom church, in Berlin, at Sevkabel in St. Petersburg and the KKL in Luzern. Her music stands for promoting love, peace and reconciliation.
A special milestone in her musical career was the collaboration with Tina Turner and Regula Curti in 2009 for three BEYOND albums that promotes the understanding, tolerance and respect amongst the different faiths by presenting beautiful prayers of all traditions. She has published more than 13 albums of which some of them received gold and platinum status.
Karin Owner & Founder of By Adushka was beyond thrilled to spend a morning with the talented and inspirational artist Dechen Shak-Dagsay (62), just a view days before her concerts in Basel and Zürich. We are delighted to share with you Dechen’s inspirational view of her work, life and her latest album "emaho". It is a privilege to have her in our Showroom, Loft 19 a place which is becoming a precious meeting space full of color and creativity.
What is your connection to By Adushka? Tell us the story of how you met and what you love…
I was introduced to By Adushka by my producer Helge van Dyk who was invited to one of the events that By Adushka held at Vitznauer Hof in Weggis. It was at a time when we were planning a photo shooting with me to generate some professional photos for my social media platforms. I had some difficulties in deciding what to wear and Helge asked if I was interested have a look at the collection of By Adushka. He showed me her website and I liked it a lot. It was not only the collection that appealed to me, but Karin’s wish not only to provide beautiful, high-quality fabrics with her collection but her sincere efforts for fair trade and sustainability.
Can you tell me more about you latest Album "Emaho"?
"Emaho" is a very special word. It’s an exclamation used in ancient Tibetan Buddhist scriptures to describe the ‘wondrous, amazing moment when the mind awakens’. I truly believe that every human being in the world has the innate longing for this feeling of "Emaho". It can manifest in various ways. To me it happens each time I connect with the most exalted and marvelous female Buddhist goddess Arya Tara. This is why I felt this album should be called "Emaho, The Story of Arya Tara".
Many eons ago, in ancient India there lived a princess called Jhana-Chandra, which means ‘Wisdom-Moon’. She was beautiful and had a big heart for all beings. Every day she accumulated countless merits and good deeds and was a faithful disciple of her teacher Buddha Dundubhisvara. Everyone admired this extraordinary princess. The monks urged her to wish that she will be reborn as a man in her next life in order to attain full enlightenment. The princess laughed and replied: ‘There is no male, there is no female. To discriminate between male and female is the mind of a small being. There are neither men nor women, nor a self, nor beings.’ She vowed to return again and again in a female form in order to liberate all beings from suffering and to reach enlightenment in a female form. So, the Buddha Dundubhisvara gave her the name Tara, which means the ‘Swift Liberator’. She is also often referred to as Arya Tara ‘The Noble Tara’.
The music of "Emaho" will not only to give you comfort and a positive energy but will also encourage you to uncover your inner beauty, strength and confidence.
Can you share a favorite performance/touring memory?
Shortly after my first Debut Album ‘DEWA CHE, Universal Healing Power of Tibetan Mantras’ was out, I received an invitation from Bob Wilson the famous Theatre director from Watermills in New York. He had heard my music and asked if I could come to Portugal to open his play ‘The Days Before’ with Isabella Rosselini playing the main role, with a Mantra. I was very excited and very honored. But it was the first time, that I ever performed the Mantras live on stage and was very nervous. After the show Bob Wilson came to thank me backstage and said: "Dechen, your singing was sublime. It was like soft snow falling on a sweet peach. Thank you so much".
This was such a beautiful moment for me to hear this amazing statement from him.
What is your inspiration for your daily outfits and how do you go about putting your looks together?
What influence your creative process?As an artist we are happiest, if we can perform for the audience and when we can feel their presence. It is a beautiful exchange of energy and creativity. The audience shares with us their happiness of hearing our music and in return this motivates us to give them our most beautiful art of playing heartfelt music.
Some quotes you love?
"The quality of our actions lies in the quality of our thoughts. The quality of our thoughts lies in the quality of our mind".
I think this quote of Buddha is very beautiful, as it shows that we are creating happiness and suffering by ourselves. To take care of good quality of mind is the best ways to lead a good life.
What is your sensory experience of where you live/work? Can you share a touch, taste, smell, look and sound…
I love the scent of Tibetan Incense that I use at home. It gives me a sense of calmness and belonging and love to look at my little garden with lots of beautiful flowers in all colors. That’s my little paradise.
A favorite meal you like to cook for your loved ones?
My family loves it when I cook the typical Tibetan Food called ‘Momo’ for them. It’s lovely because everyone loves to help and be in the kitchen with me.
A daily ritual - what keeps you grounded?
My daily prayers and meditation
Any books you are currently reading/music you are listening to?
I love the book by one of the great Tibetan Meditation Masters called Yonggey Migyur Rinpoche. It is called in ‘Love with the World’. I am going through a nostalgic time and love to listen to traditional Tibetan Songs that I heard when I was very young.
A wish for the next generation?
Connect with you own heart and look for peace and happiness inside rather than outside of you.
A sentimental piece of clothing?
An elegant hat from my grandmother that I am wearing very often.
A prized possession from your travels? A ceramic, talisman, beauty product, textile, object, artwork...
In 2014 we received the ‘Tara’ Award from the wonderful late Venerable Kun Mae Chee, who founded the Sathira Dhammasathan Center in Bangkok. Each of the Award Recipients were presented a Black Tara Statue made of black stone. It was such an honor to receive this Award for our Album ‘JEWEL, Joyful Heart through Precious Tibetan Mantras’ from her.
A recent traveling experience/place/next destination...
It really feels strange not to have travelled for so long due to the pandemic. It will be so nice to travel to Vienna and Prague in October later this year to give concerts and workshops.