Alberto Parmigiani travels to Tibet. On the pilgrim´s way from Nepal to Mount Kailash he meets Santa Ratna Shakya. Master Santa initiates Alberto in the art of the magical world of Singing Bowls massage.
In April Alberto travels again to Nepal in order to learn more about the Singing Bowls techniques and to learn about Tibetan Buddhism. During this trip Alberto also meets Shree Krishna Shahi and receives instruction from both Masters, learning more techniques in the art of Singing Bowls massage. During this trip, Alberto, inspired by the unforgettable experience of a year here in Tibet, wanted to go into the mountains in order to replenish his energy and travels in the Annapurna region along another pilgrim´s path towards Muktinath. On his way, as in the previous year, he encountered many children living in poverty, without proper clothing or shoes, without any education and sometimes with no food and health problems……..
Touched by the helplessness of these children, Alberto spoke with Santa and Shree on his return to Kathmandu and discovered that Santa and Shree had organised a benefit concert in Scotland back in 2000 in order to raise support for the poor children of Nepal. After this conversation Alberto wished to help as well, and on his return to Germany started to give Singing Bowls concerts in support of Nepalese children, while at the same time, Santa and Shree were giving another concert in Scotland. After overcoming many difficulties, Alberto was finally able to bring the two Singing Bowls Masters to Germany and, to his great surprise, they invited him to join them on stage and perform with them at concerts in Herzogenaurach, Ravensburg and Nürnberg. It is now early June and, although the three musicians have hardly had time to Rehearse, their combined energy and strong musical feeling are very evident at each concert. In this way, a quasi-family of three musicians was spontaneously formed who were able to achieve something positive to help the Nepalese children in need. In October of the same year, the three musicians were invited to perform in Paris at the occasion of a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Alberto starts to organise a tour from his home town, where they will perform in Feldkirch in Austria, the Kunsthaus Bregenz followed by Paris, the Karma Ling Monastery in Dijon at the World Festival, and then back to Paris Bercy (Sermon by His Holiness the Dalai Lama). Then onwards to Barcelona, Mallorca, again Barcelona and then, back to Germany. At the end of this long, but highly successful tour, the three musicians were even more motivated and were giving further concerts in addition to work-shop
seminars and training. The fruit of all this hard work was able to help 35 Nepalese children.
At the end of February Santa and Shree return to Germany to record a CD and play several concerts which have been organised. In early March, Pino Fusaro, the founder of “Peaceworkers“ and “Children´s Smile”, invites the three musicians to play a concert in Nürnberg. This concert, “Viva Tibet” was moderated by the actor Ralf Bauer. Alberto explains to Ralf about the background philosophy of the three musicians and Ralf is fascinated, subsequently organising for the musicians, a concert in Munich. After this concert Pino proposes that the three musicians and their organization should have a name. He suggests the name “Son of Light”. In April, Alberto travels once again to Nepal where the number of children who are now being supported by Son of Light has risen to 45! In Nepal there is much to do. The “vacation” that Alberto has taken is in truth necessary in order to organise everything, to visit the children in their school and hold meetings with the Directors and to meet with other children who may potentially require help. In spite of all this, Son of Light fly from Kathmandu to Delhi to purchase school materials on good terms and subsequently, to visit His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his home in Daramsala. During the course of the year, Son of Light is able to sponsor a further 12 children, to purchase an ambulance for the children and in the future, also for use in Kathmandu, thanks to the donation of the 1st Prize from a music competition for children in Nepalese traditional music. In October Santa and Shree will return to Germany to play other concerts and to establish new contacts for future ones.
Further concerts in Germany in conjunction with work-shops and training. In March Alberto returns to Nepal and makes his way into the mountains where all three musicians travel to Chairok Tibetan Camp, a refugee village at an elevation of 2500 meters in Marpha-Mustang, and distribute 30 kilograms of clothing plus a donation to help benefit 41 Tibetan children. Programs are planned for the summer in Mallorca and Barcelona to include more concerts, radio and television interviews and a special concert in the Planetarium in conjunction with Unicef together with a beach concert under a full moon. In November, in Barcelona, a further 6 concerts in the theatre “La Caixa” with the collaboration of the „Amics de Nepal“, an institution that also works to
help poor children in Nepal.
The interest in sponsoring children in Nepal continues to grow. Alberto flies once again to Nepal, this time to make a video about all the work that has developed out of this project. Both schools and playschools, together with private individuals, want to learn more about the Son of Light Project, so Alberto wants to prepare more informative material about the children. Back in 2005 an official letterhead and logo together with photographic material had been drafted. A concert in Germany has been planned for July and, in August-September, a tour in Colorado, USA to present the CD, “Bougholic Awaz Live” together with a concert work-shop and training.
Santa and Shree return once again to Germany and, together with Alberto, give several concerts and return again to the studio. This time Santa and Shree have brought a recording made in Kathmandu with them and there is a Raga sung by a monk among the recordings. Santa explains that the new CD should be named“Dhyana“ and plans that the whole CD should only have 3 tracks in the same way as it is in the highest form of meditation. Dhyana, translated from Tibetan, means the highest form of meditation. Alberto books an appointment straight away with the same studio, where, one year ago, they had recorded Bougholic Awaz together. The three go back to the studio and record the whole CD in one night.
2008he project in the schools in Nepal develops further, Alberto is constantly in contact with Santa and Shree so that it is not essential for him to travel every year to Nepal, even though Alberto must now work alone in Germany to ensure his continuing support for the children.
The year continues unchanged with the same program, Santa and Shree in Nepal, Alberto in Germany bonded through a common goal: moving forward with responsibility and determination.
Son of Light acquires more and more recognition in Nepal, Santa is often invited to address the Lions Club and Rotary Club in Kathmandu, always proud, even in front of members of the Nepalese government, to explain the ongoing activities both in and for the schools.
Sunil, Santa´s brother, is now, also active with Son of Light. He is an Eye Doctor and every 2 months, together with other doctors, they visit all the schools to check on the wellbeing of the children and promote their good health. The Son of Light project continues to move forward.
Santa and Shree come to Germany again and, as usual, give three concerts, hold work-shops and training with, Singing Bowls also in Italy this time. The program is working well and further money and donations are collected to aid the development of the schools further.
Alberto has a longing to travel to Nepal again to see his “children“. Santa, Shree have gained many new friends over the years in the land of the Himalayas. Together, they travel in the direction of Pokhara, the target being to make the pilgrimage to Muktinath again and then to go up into the mountains. On the way there, the trio stops in Marpha to visit the Chairok Tibetan Camp once
again, where 41 children live who have previously been to the Son of Light supported schools back in 2005. It is hard to imagine the joy of Alberto, Santa and Shree to see the faces of the children again, sometimes difficult to recognise after the passing of 7 years since Alberto´s last visit. But the children are spontaneously happy from their unexpected visit.
After the visit to Nepal, Alberto has collected many photos and videos and now attempts to bring some order into the records of this friendship story which was born in 2003. Alberto could never have imagined, that over the years, as a result of good will and a big heart for these poor children, from just a small donation pressed into hands of his friends, Santa and Shree, after his first
induction into the art of Singing Bowls massage, that this great brotherhood would develop into what it has now become, and to have helped so many children to a guaranteed good school education and thus the prospect of a better future.
Santa and Shree are planning another trip to Germany. Alberto is looking forward to that and starts to plan some concerts. He has already, provisionally, posted some photos and a video on his own Facebook page “Klangact”. The aim is to improve the layout of the graphics and to develop a new Homepage for the Son of Light project which will include more professional videos and a detailed “virtual tour” of the project. Everything is on track until the 25th of April…….Alberto receives the news of the tragic earthquake which has shaken Nepal to the core. At first he is speechless, but then he decides he must do something. He calls the local Press from Herzogenaurach, asks for the support of the Mayor and, first of all, organises a Nepal Basar where the proceeds will be donated to help the victims of the earthquake. The first 2 days are dramatic, Alberto is unable to communicate with Santa and Shree, he does not know whether or not his friends and children are alive. Then, he is able to make telephone contact with Santa. Since the Basar, the first effort to help Nepal, Alberto has organized 2 Singing Bowls concerts. It is very obvious to him that this time he is not just dealing with a small familiar project like supporting the 4 Nepalese schools. Now the situation is much larger and more serious. Alberto manages to stay in contact with Santa frequently. Shree has lost everything! The first priority is to try and help! Santa withdraws all the money from the organisation s account and uses it to purchase tents, food and water and medical supplies. Together with 12 helpers and 2 doctors they begin the first mission in the name of Son of Light, helping 35 families in a village called Nuwakot, around 120 kilometers away from Kathmandu. The second help mission is to provide 1200 endangered people with supplies in a village called Kakani, this time, around 25 kilometers away from Kathmandu. Alberto in Germany, as a result of a second Basar and a Singing Bowls concert, manages to raise around 4000 € which is temporarily parked on a recognised German Donation Account until Santa in Kathmandu is able to find a safe account for the money, as the Nepalese Government is currently being very strict about the control of donations from Help Organisations. Alberto, together with some musician friends, also organises a Rock Festival with the name “We Rock for Nepal” with the support of the City of Herzogenaurach, many local businesses and The Lions Club. After different actions, in the last 2 months, Alberto reached 22.500 € donations, with concerts, drumming in the school, selling of Nepal Basar and propaganda. He will soon fly to Nepal and bring all the money to rebuild a school in Gorkha, a village 120 km from Kathmandu near the epicenter of the earthquake. Right now Santa and Shree distribute more than 1.000 school bags and school material and uniforms for children that, at the moment are taking lessons under a tent.