A group of Tibetan holy men could be bringing Nirvana back to the charts after signing a global record deal.
The Gyuto Monks, whose oldest member is 78, have landed a record contract with Decca and have been invited to perform at Glastonbury Festival next month.
The group is based in Dharamsala in northern India, home of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and has performed on stages around the world.
They last performed in the UK in 1973 at Royal Albert Hall in London but over the years have been seen at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and toured the US with veteran rock act The Grateful Dead.
The oldest member, Lobsang Tsering, was among 80 Gyuto Monks when he fled his homeland along with the Dalai Lama in the wake of the upheaval in Tibet in 1959.
Their album, Chants: The Spirit Of Tibet, has been recorded at their monastery in the Himalayan foothills by UK producer Youth who has worked with U2, Sir Paul McCartney and Depeche Mode among others, as well as playing bass in Killing Joke for many years.
He said: “Their voices are commanding and powerful. When they sing they put every fibre of themselves into to it. They believe that just by listening to these special tones you can actually come closer towards enlightenment.
“To me they seemed like they were in the engine room of the world, diligently turning these huge invisible karmic wheels with their voices and mantras.”
The Orb have also been drafted in to work on remixes.
Decca said the album combines the monks’ “distinctive chanting and the finest Tibetan musicians with the aim of transporting the listener to another world”.
Their Glastonbury performance coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Tibetan Declaration of Independence and will see them conducting a traditional ceremony in the Green Fields. They will break off from a tour of Australia with the Dalai Lama to make their appearance on June 27.
Thupten Phuntsok, of the Gyuto Monks, said: “We are honoured to be invited to take part in the world’s premiere music and performing arts festival, at the spiritual centre of the site.”
The addition of a group of monks may not be a huge surprise at the label. It has previously had a closed order of nuns on its books and last year had a huge hit after signing an Italian friar.
The Gyuto Monks’ album is released on July 8.