Song of thanks a gift to a Bud­dhist leader

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

Not ev­ery­one gets to meet the Dalai Lama – let alone twice.

But San­dring­ham singer Junelle got to do just that, gift­ing the re­li­gious leader a song she wrote for him dur­ing a three-week trip to In­dia last month.

‘‘It was ac­tu­ally a dream come true,’’ she says.

The 30-year-old has hosted the Dalai Lama on pre­vi­ous vis­its to New Zealand but did not know whether he would re­mem­ber her.

She trav­elled with her part­ner Abra­ham Kunin who pro­duces her mu­sic at their home stu­dio.

‘‘This time he’d met a whole lot of peo­ple be­fore us and we were the last peo­ple to meet him. He took his glasses off and was rub­bing his eyes and was like, ‘I know this face. New Zealand!’.’’

The track, Refuge, is sung in English and Ti­betan and fea­tures a mantra which Junelle says daily.

‘‘The pur­pose of the song was to thank him and pay homage to peo­ple that res­cue oth­ers from dark spa­ces, so not just him . . . To thank moth­ers and sis­ters and friends, who­ever res­cues you from that mo­ment of dark­ness.’’

A Bud­dhist for 10 years, Junelle says some of the Dalai Lama’s Auck­land­based monks of­fer her teach­ing and sup­port in tough times.

The refuge mantra is a prayer for stu­dents to ask their teach­ers to take them in their care in all life­times, Junelle says.

She says it is also about cre­at­ing good karma and be­com­ing a bet­ter per­son.

‘‘It was in my ex­pe­ri­ences of host­ing the Dalai Lama that I re­alised he re­ally was a walk­ing, talk­ing, per­son­i­fied prac­ti­tioner ... He’s pretty spe­cial and ab­so­lutely self­less.’’

Junelle de­scribes her mu­sic as am­bi­ent elec­tron­ica with hints of pop but says writ­ing hon­estly can be a strug­gle.

‘‘I re­ally wanted it to help peo­ple and I felt if that was go­ing to be a goal I needed to do that gen­uine jour­ney on my own as well,’’ she says.

Junelle per­forms at Galatos on June 7. See un­der­ther­adar.co.nz for tick­ets. Go to sound­cloud.com/junelle-ema-lee or face­book.com/junelle­mu­sic for more in­for­ma­tion.

En­light­en­ing time: San­dring­ham’s Abra­ham Kunin and singer Junelle met with the Dalai Lama while vis­it­ing In­dia and gave him a copy of a song they made for him.

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