In the beginning, the Karmapa was invited to speak, and after extending a warm welcome to everyone, he spoke about the purpose of the Kagyu Monlam.
The Marme Monlam began with the practice of Avalokiteshvara known as Benefitting Beings Throughout Space. The nuns from Drupde Palmo Chökyi Dingkhang Nunnery in Bhutan were joined by monks from the Vajra Vidya Institute to perform traditional chanting that shifted into a lovely western harmony.
Afterward, Mr. Zheng Yong Chen on the suano (resembling a simple, straight trumpet) and Ms. He Yi Jie on the mouth organ played a traditional Taiwanese melody entitled, The Hundred Birds and the Phoenix.
Li Kong Yuan from Taiwan, composed the song, Flowing Water, for the zither, a stringed musical instrument, placed and played horizontally.
The well-known Bhutanese singers, Mr. Karma Phunstok and Ms. Chimi Wangmo, performed a new duet composed especially for the Marme Monlam entitled, A Song Dedicated to the Karmapa.
Next two Mongolian artists performed a song that touched on the relationship between humans and animals. As Mrs. Khongor Zul sang in a piercing, high voice, Mr. Munkhzaya played the Mongolian horse-head fiddle.
The well-known composer/performer Nitin Sawhney was joined by special guests Aref Durvesh on tabla, Ashwin Srivasen on Bansuri flute, and Kara Marni, on vocals as they performed two songs, Sunset and the famous River Pulse.
The 17th Gyalwang Karmapa enjoys the performance.
The Mongolian musicians returned augmented by Mr. Liter and Mr. Yavgaan—famous throughout his homeland for his throat singing. The group performed a song about the Mongolian landscape and nomadic life.
The penultimate act included two well-renowned guitarists and twenty performers. These musicians from China and artists from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts (TIPA) performed two songs about recalling and supplicating the guru with devotion, and beseeching the great master for blessings.
The final song was a rock performance that began with dueling guitars that transitioned into Chinese lyrics with the refrain Karmapa Khyenno. A young Tibetan monk and Chinese child performer stole the final act with their eager smiles and earnest off-beat clapping.
The Karmapa was all smiles during this performance.
For the finale, all the performers descended the stairs and lined up across the front of the stage, bringing the performances to an up-beat and lively closure before a final supplicating bow to His Holiness.
His Holiness heartily applauds the performance, with Goshir Gyaltsab Rinpoche on his left and Mingyur Rinpoche on his right.
As usual, the evening closed with the offering of lights. The Karmapa’s sister, Chamsing-la, holds two lotus lamps during the Lamp Prayer.
His Eminence Gyaltsab Rinpoche holds a beautiful red lotus lamp.
The Pavilion was transformed into a sea of lights.
The Karmapa held his lotus lamp at his heart as the last prayer resounded: May the essence of the teachings, the teachings of the Karmapa,
The activity of the victors, victorious over the four maras,
In uninterrupted fullness fill all directions to their ends.
May this always flourish and may this flourishing be auspicious!