Do you ever get the feeling that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a bit of a stage hound? Hilary at Anti just sent me notice of an upcoming release they’re obviously very proud of: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama, composer Philip Glass, sitarist Anoushka Shankar, the throat-singing Gyoto Tantric Choir, and TOM WAITS – performing with the Kronos Quartet and Greg Cohen – are among those featured on HEALING THE DIVIDE: A CONCERT FOR PEACE AND RECONCILIATION, out July 10 on Anti. HEALING THE DIVIDE will be available both as a CD and online at the iTunes Store.”

Some folks might wonder why it’s TOM WAITS, not the reigning Tibetan holy man, who gets the caps treatment, but I don’t. He’s our weird Western everyman point-of-view character here, with his own take on Pascal’s Wager: “When asked how he found himself sharing the stage in what was primarily an evening of sacred traditions in music, WAITS replied, “I’m no fool. It’s a spiritual insurance policy. Hell, at my age, the next group I put together, everyone may be playing a harp. All kidding aside, I owed His Holiness a favor. He did all my papers in school.”

The songs he did at the concert, backed by the Kronos Quartet, are cynical to a sublime degree, especially “God’s Away On Business,” which is a nice hook for those with spiritual reservations. But I’d rather hear him performing with the throat-chanting monks’ group.

Healing the Divide, a nonprofit organization founded by Richard Gere in 2001, is dedicated to collaborative solutions to humanitarian crises. “The release of this CD helps us raise awareness about the worsening condition of Tibetans both inside and out of the region,” explains Gere. “The funds raised not only allow us to positively change the lives of the Tibetan people, but will also allow us to promote invaluable Tibetan Buddhist concepts of peace and compassion.”