Shar Ki Ri (Mountain to the East)
Scored for: Treble chorus (SSA) and piano
Text: Traditional tro-glu (common dance) song from Lo Monthang, Nepal
Language: Mustang dialect of Tibetan
Duration: 4 min.
Premiere: 6/3/2012 Pennsylvania Girlchoir
Commissioned by: Mendelssohn Club and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church
Published by: Seeadot Publishing. Order here. Order Tse Go La companion piece for treble chorus and piano here.
See preview score pages: Shar Ki Ri Sample Pages Seeadot Publishing
“Shar Ki Ri” – excerpt from Clearfield’s Tse Go La cantata
“Shar Ki Ri” – traditional tro-glu song recorded by Clearfield in Lo Monthang, Nepal
My professional choir did the SSAA version, and on a full program of favorites, it was everyone’s favorite, favorite. In addition to the beautiful music, people love body percussion, and the Eastern connection is a total turn on.
– David Harris, January 3, 2016
I directed this with the college women’s choir on the recording here and we loved it. The driving rhythm and layered textures are a welcome addition to SSAA repertoire that too often tends toward flowery. I encourage you to contact the composer, Andrea Clearfield, who is wonderful and generous and thoughtful. Between the resources she provides on her website and the text itself we had many wonderful conversations.
– Steven Sieck, March 30, 2016
This work is excerpted from Andrea Clearfield’s cantata Tse Go La (At the threshold of this life) scored for SATB and SSA choruses, electronics and chamber orchestra. The work is inspired by the composer’s
fieldwork in the restricted, remote Himalayan region of Lo Monthang in Upper Mustang, Nepal, where she recorded and documented indigenous folk music with Katey Blumenthal, anthropologist. This ancient horse
culture is threatened and efforts are being made to preserve their music, dance, medicine, religion, language and art. Under the auspices of the Rubin Foundation, Clearfield and Blumenthal recorded 130 songs that had not been previously documented.
The people of the region are ethnically Tibetan; they speak the Tibetan “Loba” dialect. Shar Ki Ri is a common folk song (tro-glu) that often include dance. Clearfield and Blumenthal recorded three women from the community, Kheng Lhamo, Yandol Dolkar and Pema Dolkar, who had a vast knowledge of
tro-glu that they learned from their elders. The women sang and danced Shar Ki Ri for Clearfield, who incorporated much of the traditional Loba text, melodies and rhythms within a contemporary framework.
Tse Go La was co-commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, Alan Harler, Artistic Director
and Pennsylvania Girlchoir, member choir of Commonwealth Youthchoirs, Susan Ashbaker, Executive
Director as a way to bring these songs for the first time to the U.S. This commission was made possible through:
the Mendelssohn Club Alan Harler New Ventures Fund; a gift of the Pennsylvania Girlchoir class of 2010,
and from Emilie Carr, in memory of Margaret Owen; the Archie W. and Grace Berry Foundation; and is
supported, in part, by a grant from the American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter. Tse Go La
was premiered at Holy Trinity Church, Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia , PA on April 29, 2012. The NYC premiere took place on May 19, 2012 with Schola Cantorum on Hudson, Deborah King, Artistic Director.
Andrea Clearfield was awarded a Community Partners Grant from The American Composers
to provide outreach opportunities involving the Tibetan community of Philadelphia. There were
workshops with the Tibetan youth and the Girlchoir., and members of the Tibetan community
performed traditional Tibetan song and dance at the premiere performance of Tse Go La.
The composer wishes to express her gratitude to The MacDowell Colony, The Ragdale Foundation and the Virginia
Center for the Creative Arts who provided invaluable time and space to compose this work.
SHAR KI RI (Mountain to the East)
English translation by Katey Blumenthal, Karma Wangyal and Sienna Craig
Do not look toward the eastern mountain
Look instead toward the western mountain.
Look up to the heights, and down to the depths of the mountain
Towards the places of wealth, the pure treasure of the dharma
Do not look toward the eastern mountain
Look instead towards the western mountain.
For this is the root place, the copper-colored paradise of Guru Rinpoche.
Do not look to the hills of India,
Instead look to the place of pure treasure and excellent perception,
A place of future accomplishment for sentient beings
May we be prosperous!
Note on text: Do not destroy the culture (life) of the Tibetan people. The underlying meaning is that one should not look to the past (i.e. East, where the sun has already risen), but instead look to the future (i.e. West, where the sun has not yet set). One should do good and build a profound spiritual practice.
-Venerable Losang Sampten, Spiritual Director, Chenrezig Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia