Dharma Bums at Audience with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dharamsala, India, April 2000 Left to Right: Tim Carbone, Phil Void, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Mark Dann, Tad Wise
The Dharma Bums were founded by songwriter Phil Void in the early 1970s in India and Nepal, and since then the group has performed and recorded all over the world. Their special commitment has always been to the cause of a Free Tibet, and many of their songs reflect this sentiment, especially Rangzen!  

 Originally, the group was a loose collection of musicians, seekers of enlightenment, and “dharma bums” traveling in Asia during the ’70s, who hooked up with Phil Void, a long-time student of Tibetan Buddhism and supporter of the Dalai Lama’s efforts for a peaceful solution to Tibet’s terrible situation under Chinese Communist occupation. Void became very involved in the fundraising effort to rebuild the great Tibetan monasteries in India, and subsequently became one of the founders of the Tibetan liberation movement in the West.  

 Void’s songs about Tibet and its culture and religion include Guru Rinpoche (about the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, a magician-yogi-scholar who reportedly flew into Tibet on the back of a tiger), Vajra Dakini (the great sky-going goddess, inspiration for artists), Winds of Karma, Infinite Mind, Samsara (the wheel of rebirth), Ocean of Wisdom (about His Holiness the Dalai Lama), and of course, Rangzen! (which means “independence” in the Tibetan language.) 

 The Dharma Bums have travelled and performed all over the world, from London to New York to Los Angeles to Barcelona to Cairo to Dharamsala, India, and have even appeared in Lhasa Tibet in 1986. During the Year of Tibet (1991), the band was a featured element of the Tibetan Liberation Theatre free performances in the parks of New York City and at two special Tibet nights at the Wetlands, as well as touring in the West with numerous shows in Colorado and Arizona.

In the spring of 2000, the band visited Dharamsala, and played their music for His Holiness the Dalai Lama at a private audience. The above photo was taken on that occasion. His Holiness subsequently wrote a letter of support for the work the band has been doing, and continues to do to help Tibet.

Since then, they have continued to perform at Tibetan benefits, and will continue to sing their songs until Tibet is free again. 

 Whether they are singing about Tibet, environmental issues, non-violence, or everyday human concerns, the Dharma Bums’ songs reflect their strong belief in freedom and the eternal quest for enlightenment by the human spirit.


Newspaper article with Phil Void/Dalai Lama photo

Kingston Freeman Article May 2001

Photos from Battery Park Festival, 7/8/01

Dharma Bums Homepage

Collage of Dharma Bums Photos

Dalai Lama Letter for Dharma Bums


Werewolves of Woodstock

Benefit at Tibet House—December 1, 2000

March for Tibet's Independence

Far Eastern Economic Review (DB banned from singing

Rangzen at World Festival of Sacred Music!)

Relix Magazine Review (1994)

Return to Tibetan Liberation Theatre Homepage!