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Keola Beamer creates original music for ‘The Tibetan Illusion Destroyer’

By BY CINDY SCHUMACHER - | May 11, 2017

Dr. Tom Vendetti (left), Keola Beamer and Moana Beamer worked together to create a musical score to echo the mystical journey of the film “The Tibetan Illusion Destroyer,” which is premiering May 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. PHOTO BY ROBERT STONE, STONEMAN PRODUCTIONS.

KAHULUI – Ebb & Flow Arts, in cooperation with Vendetti Productions LLC, is presenting a multimedia event at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center on Saturday, May 20, at 7:30 p.m. Witness the world premiere of Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Dr. Tom Vendetti’s “The Tibetan Illusion Destroyer” in 3D.

Filmed in Tibet and Nepal over two years, the film documents an ancient Tibetan ceremony, the Mani Rimdu Festival, that creates awareness of the illusions that cause human suffering. Vendetti’s short film “Dali Lama and Happiness” will also be shown.

Lahaina resident Keola Beamer scored the original music for the film and will be present to talk about his composition.

The evening will open with a concert by Sarah Cahill, renowned pianist, performing works by legendary composer Lou Harrison. Cahill will also play to Dr. Gary Greenberg’s “Timelapsed Sugar Crystals Microvideo.” A silent auction of treasures from Nepal starts at 5 p.m. in the Yokouchi Founders’ Courtyard.

The message of “The Tibetan Illusion Destroyer” is timeless: illusions stand in the way of finding happiness.

“There is much wisdom that indigenous cultures can offer us in terms of achieving inner peace and happiness,” said Dr. Vendetti, director of Mental Health Kokua in Wailuku. He believes that his film’s message is extremely relevant, considering the high level of internal and external conflict that many of us are facing every day.

“The film offers insight into how to obtain peace in the outer world by making peace within ourselves,” Vendetti said. Buddha was quoted in the film with this message: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make our world.”

“In other words,” said Vendetti, “if we think negative thoughts on a regular basis, it will result in feelings of anxiety and even depression. My film explores this knowledge and wisdom via an interpretation of the Mani Rimdu Festival.”

Beamer said of his experience working on the film, “‘Tibetan Illusion Destroyer’ was a wonderful project to work on, and I was grateful to be called in to compose the score for the film. What initially attracted me to the project was Dr. Vendetti’s idea of understanding the self-imposed matrix of illusions that human beings unknowingly place on their lives. By exploring how other cultures and religions ameliorate these mental constructs, is it possible, I wondered, that we could enhance the happiness and meaning of our own lives?”

The music Beamer created for the film was recorded in Kathmandu over a period of about a year. “It was important to me to create a score that would authentically support the film by using the native instruments of the Nepalese people. Accordingly, I worked to understand the tonal palette of their instrumentation,” he said.

Beamer also had to discover a method of communicating the music in his head to the musicians onsite without any type of written notation. Being Hawaiian and coming from a culture that created hula and oli without a written language (or paper) prior to the arrival of the Europeans, this was not actually too difficult for him.

“I kind of do the same thing with my own family!” he exclaimed. “Luckily, through friends in Kathmandu, Dr. Vendetti and I discovered some excellent musicians. We worked together to create a meditative and authentically supportive score to underpin the magical journey of the film.”

Beamer and his wife, Moana, were invited to be part of the filming in Nepal along with Dr. Vendetti and his wife, Nancy. Together they made several treks along the beautiful and wild mountainous areas of the country at very high elevations.

“One of the truly great things about working with Dr. Vendetti is his genuine aloha and inclusiveness,” Keola said. “Drinking tea with our Sherpa guides and living in harmony with the Buddhist monks and local families provided a wonderful context to understand and create music for the film. It was also an experience Moana and I will remember for the rest of our lives!”

The Mani Rimdu Festival, originating in Nepal, is a 19-day sequence of sacred ceremonies culminating in a public festival lasting four days. The festival is an opportunity for the local Sherpa and Tibetan communities to gather and celebrate with the monastic community. The authentic, colorful ceremonies convey Buddhist teachings, and afterwards a sand mandala is dismantled in the temple and given as an offering at the spring below the monastery. The film documents rare and sacred ceremonies that open a path toward achieving happiness.

San Sang Rinpoche, who is featured in the film, stated, “Everyone is seeking to be happy. Destroying our thoughts and illusions that cause negative emotions – such as anger, jealousy and greed – will result in happiness. Practicing acts of compassion and kindness towards yourself and others will create much happiness.”

For tickets, call (808) 242-SHOW or visit www.mauiarts.org.