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Archive for February, 2012

The salt men of Tibet

Shot under extreme conditions in one of the world’s most remote and beautiful locations, THE SALTMEN OF TIBET documents the ancient traditions and daily rituals of a Tibetan nomadic community and transports us into a realm untainted by the tides of foreign invasion or encroaching modernity. Step by step we follow the unforgettable, annual three-month pilgrimage to the holy salt lakes of northern Tibet.

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(Video hosted on Youtube.)

n Tibet’s Changtang region, nomads harvest salt to buy barley. A clan prepares four of its men for an annual trek to Lake Tsento, where they rake salt from shoals into piles, then into bags, and onto their yaks to return, 90-days in all. After picking an auspicious day to depart, they feast, sing, tell stories, and race horses. Women are forbidden on this sacred trip. All is ritualized: Margen cooks, Pargen prepares burnt offerings and distributes meat, Zopon cares for the caravan of 160 yaks, Bopsa bends his strong back to arduous work. To each other they speak the secret language of saltmen; they pray and observe exemplary behavior. The goddess of the lake smiles upon them. Four men from a nomadic Tibetan tribe undertake their annual, ritualistic pilgrimage to a sacred salt lake. Salt gathered in this traditional fashion will be sold to provide the economic livelihood of the tribe for the coming year. The journey, necessary for the group’s survival, also incorporates a number of rituals necessary for their culture to survive in the modern world.

Maasai – Kenya and northern Tanzania

The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania along the Great Rift Valley on semi-arid and arid lands. The Maasai occupy a total land area of 160,000 square kilometers with a population of approximately one half million people. However, many Maasai see the national census as government meddling and often miscount their numbers to census takers.

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Maasai – Kenya and northern Tanzania
Video hosted on Youtube.

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he Maasai live in Kraals arranged in a circular fashion. The fence around the kraal is made of acacia thorns, which prevent lions from attacking the cattle. It is a man’s responsibility to fence the kraal. While women construct the houses. Traditionally, kraals are shared by an extended family. However, due to the new land management system in the Maasai region, it is not uncommon to see a kraal occupied by a single family. The Inkajijik (maasai word for a house) are loaf-shaped and made of mud, sticks, grass, cow dung and cow’s urine. Women are responsible for making the houses as well as supplying water, collecting firewood, milking cattle and cooking for the family. Warriors are in charge security while boys are responsible for herding livestock. During the drought season, both warriors and boys assume the responsibility for herding livestock. The elders are directors and advisors for day-to-day activities. Every morning before livestock leave to graze, an elder who is the head of the inkang sits on his chair and announces the schedule for everyone to follow. The Maasai are a semi-nomadic people who lived under a communal land management system. The movement of livestock is based on seasonal rotation. Contrary to many claims made by outsiders, particularly the Hardinian school of thought, this communal land management system allows us to utilize resources in a sustainable manner. Each section manages its own territory. Under normal conditions, reserve pastures are fallowed and guarded by the warriors. However, if the dry season becomes especially harsh, sections boundaries are ignored and people graze animals throughout the land until the rainy season arrives. According to Maasai traditional land agreement, no one should be denied access to natural resources such as water and land.

Samsara

Samsara is A spiritual love-story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, Himalayas. Samsara is a quest; one man’s struggle to find spiritual Enlightenment by renouncing the world. And one woman’s struggle to keep her enlightened love and life in the world. But their destiny turns, twists and comes to a surprise ending…

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Samsara.


Video hosted on Youtube.

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ashi has been raised as a Buddhist monk since age five. When he gets erotic phantasms as an adolescent, his spiritual master decides it’s time to taste profane life, sending him on a journey in the real Himalayan world. Once he is told his hottest dream was real, Tashi decides to leave the monastery and marries Pema, the daughter of a rich farmer, who was actually engaged with local stone-mason Jamayang. The ex-lama soon becomes a rich land-owner himself, and makes a killing from his harvest by bringing it to the city instead of selling at half price to the local merchant Dewa, but half of his next harvest perishes in a fire, yet he comes trough and raises a bright son, Karma. After committing infidelity, contemplated for years, and as he later hears from the promiscuous Indian labourer girl, Tashi reconsiders his life…

Tibetan memories

Shangri La, ‘the Rooftop of the World’ – locked away in its Himalayan fortress, Tibet has long exercised a siren’s hold on the imagination of the West. Tibetans are used to hardship and, despite the disastrous Chinese occupation, they have managed to keep their culture and humour alive.

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lthough the Tibetan climate is not as harsh as many people imagine, be prepared for sudden drops in temperature at night, particularly in western Tibet. The most pleasant time of year is between May and early November, after which temperatures start to plummet. However, in May and June there is a wind factor to consider and dust storms are not unusual. During July and August you may find roads temporarily washed out along the Friendship Highway to Nepal. These two months usually see around half of Tibet’s annual rainfall. October is the best time to make a trip out to the east. Lhasa and its environs don’t get really cold until the end of November. Although winter is very cold, many restaurants are shut and snowfalls can sometimes make travel difficult, some travellers swear by these months. There are few travellers about and Lhasa, for example, is crowded with nomads and at its most colourful. March is a politically sensitive month (the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising and flight of the Dalai Lama) and there is occasional tightening of restrictions on travellers heading into Tibet at this time. It’s worth trying to make your trip coincide with one of Tibet’s main festivals. Losar (New Year) is an excellent (although cold) time to be in Lhasa. Saga Dawa (April or May) is also a good time to be in Lhasa or Mt Kailash.

Maria Tipo

The Italian pianist and pedagogue, Maria (Luisa) Tipo born on December 23, 1931 – Naples, Italy, gave her first public piano performance at the age of four. Her teacher was her mother, Ersilia Cavallo, herself a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni. She later received master-classes from Alfredo Casella and Guido Agosti. In 1948 she won 2nd prize (no 1st prize was given) at the Geneva International Competition, and returned in 1949 (age 17) to capture its 1st prize. In 1952 she won 3rd prize at the Queen Elisabeth of Belgium Competition in Brussels.

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Sonate K 128 in B flat major.


Video hosted on Youtube.

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Maria Tipo has recorded extensively. The first of recordind for Ricordi label, 12 Scarlatti Sonatas, was hailed by Newsweek as “the most spectacular record of the year”. Her recording of piano sonatas by Clementi for Fonit Cetra is now a collector’s item. In the lasts years Maria Tipo records exclusively for EMI. Her recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) ” and Eighten Scarlatti Sonatas have both won the Diapason d’Or. In addition to her career as a concert pianist, Maria Tipo is a dedicaded teacher. She was a professor at the Conservatories of Bolzano, Florence and Geneva, and has taught students from all over the world. She is frequently invited to judge major International Competitions. She holds the Cours de Perfectionnement et Virtuosité in Geneva and theaches masters-classes at the Gubbio Festival and at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole. Tipo was born in Naples. She was taught originally by her mother, Ersilia Cavallo, who was a pupil of Ferruccio Busoni, she went on to study under Alfredo Casella and Guido Agosti. At only seventeen, she won the Geneva international piano competition. Since then, she has performed widely and made a considerable number of recordings.

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