Ani Choying Drolma is emphatic that her music is not simply for entertainment.
Ani Choying Drolma, the Buddhist nun rock star from Nepal insists that her music is the one which brings a person home. The home is a place where one can relax and be themselves. It is possible to free oneself from all the fears and hope of what other people think, about the way a person dress, sit, and how the person conducts in a public place. Her music is a blend of melodies and ancient Buddhist hymns. Her pairing of melody and lyrics bring the mind back to its natural and calm state.
Drolma had a hard life. Her parents were Tibetan refugees settled in Nepal. Her father was physically abusive to her and her mother. The continued abuse led her to choose the life of a nun. She embraced the order as she was afraid of getting married to a man who would be an abusive husband like her father. Her parents supported her decision as being a nun is an acceptable notion in conservative Nepal.
Drolma shed her normal girl clothing and had her hair shortened. She also abandoned the name given to her by her parents: Dolma Tsekyid. She was accepted into the Nagi Gompa nunnery at the age of 13. Nagi Gompa is situated on the top of a mountain in Kathmandu valley. She found the environment beautiful, and more importantly, she got her childhood back. This is a rarity in Nepal where child marriages are common. Human Rights Watch has calculated that 37 percent of Nepali girls are married off before age 18.
Drolma's life changed when record producer and guitarist Steve Tibbetts heard her voice by chance when he and his wife took a trip to Nepal and visited the Nagi Gompa monastery for spiritual learning and retreat. He recorded the 22-year old's singing and overlaid her voice with guitar tracks after he returned to the United States. Tibbetts soon asked the young nun to record her own album. Her debut album, Cho, was released in 1997. Drolma subsequently released 12 albums. She now spends much of her time performing all over the globe.
— Laurie (@alivingexample) May 7, 2017
Money earned from her performances goes directly to the Nun's Welfare Foundation (NWF). It is a charity which runs free boarding schools offering secular education and modern studies exclusively for nuns. The Arya Tara School has approximately 85 students, with the youngest child only five years old and the oldest 18 years.