Tina Turner featured on the cover of the September/October 2009 issue of the German spiritual magazine Newsage. Inside the magazine is a short article on the first Beyond album with Regula Curti and Dechen Shak-Dagsay. This was Tina’s first collaboration on a spiritual album, and the article features some interesting information on how this project came about! Continue reading to see the full article (in German) and an English translation. Thank you Michael for providing these scans!
In August 2005, the Dalai Lama and abbot Martin Werlen met for the occasion of a ceremony of interreligious dialogue in Einsiedeln, Switzerland. Their words inspired singers Regula Curti and Dechen Shak-Dagsay to record a CD with Buddhist and Christian prayers. While working on the project, Regula and Dechen found the courage to ask Tina Turner for her participation. The result of their cooperation is ‘Beyond’ – an album of the highest class with Tibetan mantras, Christian prayers and a spiritual message, inspired by Deepak Chopra, by Tina Turner.
Wherever we are, no matter which religion we have: when we pray from the depths of our heart, we change and find us beyond right or wrong, good or bad. During collective singing we experience the incredible power of deep spirituality – even when each person prays from their own religious tradition! With the CD Beyond, we wish to share this experience of connection and ‘being one’ with as many people as possible. To encourage them, all around the world, to pray every day. Singing can take you to the place, where love and compassion grow.
“The CD project ‘Beyond’ is mainly a chance encounter of many factors and coincidences,” explains Tibetan mantra-singer Dechen Shak-Dagsay during the interview. “It is beautiful that in 2003, my music found its way into ‘Seeschau’; where Regula performs her music therapy for relaxation. An invitation followed, in which Regula asked me to sing my mantras with her and her students. After the first singing session, I told her that I had received an exceptional invitation from the Abbey of Einsiedeln.” The benedict monks had heard Dechen’s mantras on her album ‘Dew Che’ and would now like to learn more about these prayers. “Regula also found this extraordinary,” says Dechen, “and because she had a special connection with the monastery herself, we arranged to go there together. This was the start of our friendship, and also the start of ‘Beyond’. On the CD I sing Tibetan mantras, with strong Buddhist roots.”
“For years, my husband and I have visited the monastery Einsiedeln,” adds Regula Curti, “the biggest Benedict monastery in Europe, and we are friends with the abbot and the monks. Many histories connect me with the monastery, which could fill a book. The most beautiful story, however, is the meeting between Abbot Martin Werlen and His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the summer of 2005, for the interreligious service, conceived by Dechen and me. Both religious leaders reminded us to stay with our roots, to mutually inspire and get to know one another. For Dechen and me, this was the start of ‘Beyond’ and we are thankful with all our hearts for this initiation.
In fact, both the Dalai Lama and Abbot Martin Werlen, have supported the project from the start with encouraging words. “If we bring together comparable traditions from Christianity and Buddhism together, such as being done here,” says the Dalai Lama, “we give the listeners the possibility to participate in these prayers and to incorporate the thoughts of respect and peace in their lives.” And Abbot Martin Werlen emphasizes: “respect for different religious traditions and richness is not only possible, but necessary. We can see the commonalities without ignoring the differences. We don’t lose anything, but we mutually gain.”
To the question, how they got the idea to get Tina Turner on board, Regula Curti says: “We realized during the development of our music, that we were working on something big, that would need to expand beyond my and Dechen’s fan-community. We needed a third, strong voice with us, who lives what we want to communicate, and who is famous. We needed to make our message applicable to ourselves. Also the thought of three women for peace, with different skin colors, fascinated us. The idea ‘We are all the same’, no matter black, yellow or white, rock star or the singing voice of the people – we all need to be happy and live together in peace.”
“When Regula came to me,” says Tina, “she had heard my voice during her morning meditation and took that as a signal to ask me, if I would like to participate in the project, which made me very happy. Although I didn’t even know exactly why this made me so happy. I think it was because it was a spiritual project and I had been interested for a longer time in getting involved in something like this. Probably, this interest came from my connection with Buddhism,” says the world star. “I wanted to tell the people, how I was able to leave the hard times behind me, transformed and continued my life. When I listened to this music, I noticed that this project is one that helps you to reach this new level, to leave all the negative things in your life behind and to look into the future with a positive attitude and a positive feeling.”
But Tina’s participation in the project was different than expected: Regula explained her that she wouldn’t be singing, but speaking. “Now this is unusual,” thought Tina, “because the people know me as a singer.” She remembers: “At the same time I thought, it is a good idea, because… often, people like to get to know all the aspects of an artist. And this special art of spoken word made it even more exceptional, in my opinion. Because of this reason, I was interested in the project. But I also needed consultation and Deepak Chopra is, for me, one of the best, when it comes to spiritual consultation and guidance. Someday I discovered that, everything is inside of you, how you feel and how you take control of it. I liked this way of thinking a lot and I was very happy to become part of the whole project.”
Together with Dechen and Regula, Tina Turner chose the texts from books and old writings, with which the listeners can identify. “We try to help the people to reach a next level, a level that is Beyond all that has passed,” says Tina Turner. “The current times are very stressful, which can give people the feeling of being somewhat lost. The spiritual music can bring you to a different level, it works relaxing, gives peace, and the texts bring across a positive message. The words reach the spirit of people. And yes… the music takes you away.”
The mission is more than accomplished, one can hardly avoid being taken away, for example when Dechen and Regula simultaneously sing the Tara-mantra and the Ave Maria. Completed with Tina Turner’s vocal performances and the deeply moving texts, penetrated with the spirit of Rumi and other masters. And, ‘Beyond’ will encourage singing-along: “Our slogan ‘Sing – singing takes you beyond’ seduces you to sing,” explains Regula Curti. “And it doesn’t matter if one sings correct or beautifully,” adds Dechen Shak-Dagsay. “It is about singing the songs, while being conscious that at the same time, there are like-minded people singing one of the Beyond songs , and to plunge into the enormous strength of Beyond and re-surface strengthened and happy.”