Listen: Laurie Anderson explores the Tibetan Book of the Dead

The forthcoming album "Songs from the Bardo" is an exploration of the Tibetan Book of the Dead by beloved composer Laurie Anderson, Tibetan multi-instrumentalist Tenzin Choegyal, and composer/climate activist Jesse Paris Smith, daughter of Patti and Fred "Sonic" Smith. "Songs from the Bardo" will be released September 27 on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings:

Like a guided meditation, this album suspends time, allowing listeners to fully lose themselves in the piece, as well as bringing to a new light the ideas expressed in the text, connecting the past and the present by illuminating death, the one constant in the impermanent human experience.

The origins of the project lie in shared activist work. Smith and Choegyal met in 2008 at a benefit concert that raised money to preserve Tibetan culture and traditions. They began conceptualizing this album back in 2014, first performing a shortened version of it as a duo in 2015.

...Songs from the Bardo perfectly combines Anderson’s storytelling genius with Choegyal’s expression of traditional Tibetan music and Smith’s background in composition to create a piece that transcends genre and form, emblematic of the text, which speaks of the experience of beings as they transform from one life into the next.