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Ngawang Lodup 

TalkingGigs comes to London ...

Saturday 10th September 2016

King's Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG


The first TalkingGig in London - and who better than London-based Ngawang Lodup - the "Tibetan monk turned rock star" as the media had characterised him a year earlier!


Ngawang had charmed and astonished his Sheffield audience back in November 2015 with his gentle humour, his tales of life and the monastery in Tibet, his harrowing escape, and his music - whether accompanying himself on the traditional dramnyen lute or electric mandolin, or perhaps most stunningly when singing acapella. That gig remains one of the most popular of the whole TalkingGigs series, so we leapt at the chance to do a repeat gig as part of the King's Place Festival in London.

We had to cut the length of the gig to an hour to fit the tight scheduling of the festival, but still managed to cover many aspects of his extraordinary tale and fit in some of his amazing music.  His style of playing has certainly developed - incorporating some western influences in his strumming style and also adding the mandola to his repertoire of instruments. But essentially he remains rooted in the traditions of Tibetan music and presents a strong and honest voice for his country.

The audience reaction was really enthusiastic and Ngawang was surrounded by people wanting to know more about him and his music ... and lots of positive interest in the TalkingGigs format!  Robin Denselow from the Guardian was also there ... and I'm delighted to say that he was so impressed that he even featured our gig in his overall review of the Festival.

"The festival also included London’s first Talking Gigs event, in which an artist is interviewed on stage and the conversation is interspersed with music. It worked well with Ngawang Lodup. A former Tibetan monk who fled “to find artistic freedom”, he mixed ancient songs with contemporary laments for his homeland or praise for the Dalai Lama, accompanying himself on the Tibetan dramnyen lute, electric mandolin and mandola. And his stories of football-obsessed monks or his escape across the Himalayas were equally compelling."

Click here for the full review.

It would be great to be able to take the format to other cities ... but let's not forget where it all started and will continue!


Photographs - Ayse Balko
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