Tag Archives: Bhante Maithrie

Performing Tones in Valencia, Spain at Forja ArteContemporáneo

No puedo hablar mucho Espanol, but I can point out tones to play from my tone menu (the apron)!

No puedo hablar mucho Espanol, but I can point out tones to play for people from my tone menu (the apron)!

Last night was the opening of the Transfer Lounge show at Forja ArteContemporáneo in Valencia where I performed Pittsburgh ringtones. The event was well-attended even though a couple of torrential downpours fell throughout the evening. Since I speak very simple Spanish, I felt a little bit shy approaching gallery visitors as I would in Los Estados Unidos. I switched up my approach a bit–I  walked around the space, playing/amplifying tones and drew attention to the project sin palabras (without words). I then visited with folks en Espanol when they stopped by my table to pick up some of the art cards. One major advantage to come from the experience of performing ringtones in Spain is the opportoneity to think about using my body to perform the tones (rather than just rely upon my brain/ language-center). Wow, I thought this morning–Note to Self: traveling to other places can help to inform and expand an artist’s practice and approach.

The event was catered by Absolut (what a great promotional idea for Absolut, and a help to artists and artist-run organizations!). I wondered if this sort of sponsorship from the company is accessible to artists’ organizations back home.

Absolut Bartenders at the Forja Opening (photo by Carolina Loyola Garcia)

Absolut Bartenders at the Forja Opening (photo by Carolina Loyola Garcia)

Although I didn’t have time to look carefully at all the artists’ work included in the exhibition, I spent a good deal of time last night being riveted by pieces from Christina Ghetti, Filippos Tsitsopoulos and Ima Picó–I can’t wait for Pittsburgh to see their work. I’ll be writing more about Ima Pico as her help capturing and identifying Valencian tones was a tremendous contribution to the project.

Ghetti's Installation at Forja

Ghetti's Installation at Forja

Video work by Fillippo

Video work by Fillippo

Co-curator Pico Standing near Her Own Work

Co-curator Pico Standing near Her Own Work

Another highlight of the show para mi, was a visit from Consulor Agent Dr. David Nordlund from the United States Department of State in Valencia.


Foley, Nordlund y Loyola-Garcia

Carolina y yo were delighted to have a visit from Dr. Nordlund!  He took some pictures of the show but also took the time to visit with us (me, Carolina and Ima) about our work, Forja and the arts in general in Valencia. He even suggested that a return visit from Locally Toned might be an interesting idea (such as making Valencian tones during las Fallas?!). That would be fabulous! From what everybody tells me here about las Fallas (a week-long fiesta that runs in March of each year), that is certainly what Valencia sounds like.

Here are the photographic art cards from Pittsburgh that I took to the show. Hey, Caleb, HHOL, Peyton, horsies of Indiana, Erok, the Kennywood Merry-Go-Round, Bhante Maithrie, Coqui, and Stu, didja all know you came to Spain with me?

Photo 231

Photo 232

Photo 233

Photo 234

Photo 235

Because I don’t have tone distribution for mobile phone companies that operate in Spain, I came up with the clever idea (with Curator Loyola-Garcia’s help) of pasting [shortened] mp3 URLs on the backs of the cards so folks could easily access the audio files to download the tones to their European phones.


These last photos are documentation of performative moments taken by Ima’s friend Sonia (and Valencian ringtone contributor). Thanks for including my work in the show, Carolina, and thanks Ima and to Forja’s Toni Calderón for their help and hospitality!

carolina y yo



Sometimes a ringtone sounds so good, you have to close your eyes and listen.


Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Project Updates

Heather Mull’s Buddhist Chant Ringtones Featuring Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana


Music industry ringtones? Bah, humbug!

How about some Buddhist Chant ringtones?

Locally Toned has some now, thanks to Ms. Heather Mull–a gifted photographer who lives and works in Pittsburgh. I’ve known Heather for years (as a friend and through my previous work as a media literacy specialist at Pittsburgh Filmmakers). Late this summer she wrote in to Locally Toned saying, “What would you think of some Buddhist Chant Ringtones?”

Heather travels to Natrona Heights, PA, each Wednesday evening for group meditation at the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center (a Theravada Buddhist temple). When I told her I thought Buddhist chants would make wonderful ringtones, she checked in with the monks, Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana, to see if that’d be possible. They graciously agreed to contribute some chants to the project.

To me, these tones reflect the ever-expanding cultural and ethnic diversity of the Pittsburgh region. They’re also a fresh approach to conceptualizing content for (extra-ordinary) ringtones. After we finished recording the chants, Bhante Pemaratana said, “So this means that when someone’s phone rings, one of our chants, such as A Wish for World Peace could play?” Yes, Bhante–even when you are not there to sing it. These chant tones also expand the range of language included in the project–some of the Buddhist tones are in Pali (language of the earliest extant Buddhist scriptures), and others are in Singhalese.


Bhante is a term of respect that means master teacher–and now I should introduce you to the monks. Both are from Sri Lanka, and have been in the US for 14 months. They were invited by the Buddhist Association and Friends of Buddhism in Western PA.


Photo by Heather Mull

Bhante Maithrie is the elder monk.  He noted, via translation, that he is quite happy in the United States. He enjoys the programs that the center runs, but says he’s a little different here, “quite unlike the way I am in Sri Lanka–I’m much quieter here,” he joked. Bhante Maithrie speaks less English than Bhante Pemaratana, but he continued, through translation, “It’s a much smaller [religious] community here, and so it’s a quieter life. I’ve found that the people here are good and kind.”


Bhante Pemaratana also mentioned the “openness and welcoming nature of the people” in the Pittsburgh area. This fall, he begins work on his PhD in religious studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He’s very excited about that.


Photo by Heather Mull

The first 4 tones are in Singhalese–also Singhala–a native language of Sri Lanka.  The last three are sung in the native language of Pali.

Buddhist Chant Tones

“Namo”/Homage to the Buddha–the most commonly used chant to pay homage to the Buddha. Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.

Reflection on the Qualities of the Buddha. Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.

Excerpt from Loving Kindness Chant sung by Bhante Pemaratana.

Salutation to the Buddha or Praising the Buddha sung by Bhante Maithrie

13th Century Poem in Singhalese (or Singhala, a native language of Sri Lanka) sung by Bhante Maithrie.

Wish for World Peace (Buddhist Chant) in Singhala “May the craving for the power in the people’s mind go away. May the people understand the goodness of the human mind.” Sung by Bhante Pemaratana.

Common Buddhist Chant–a short verse with four types of meditation. Sung by Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana.

Thanks to Bhante Maithrie and Bhante Pemaratana for this very original contribution to the project and to Heather Mull for the introduction to the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center (and for taking some photos while I recorded the Buddhist tracks)!

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Filed under Locally Toned (all posts), Ringtones