As monks who make up the Dali Lama’s personal choir at the Gyuto monastery in Dharamsala, India, their focus for this tour is not on the bottom line dollar , but rather to inform the western world about their largely unknown religion.

“I think we are very far behind the Western countries’ thinking,” said monk Thupten Donyo. “We wanted mainly to focus on the spiritual side.”

At the concerts, it is always the age-old chants that take center stage, drawing crowds of the curious. The monks captivate audiences with a vocal style largely unheard of in the West – each monk sings not a single note, but an entire chord.

That was enough to impress Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, who has been helping put together the monks’ U.S. tours since their first one in the mid-‘80s.

“It was the holiest sound I have ever heard,” said Hart. “I’ve heard most kinds of music but this was something I’d never dreamed of. It was from another place. It touched my soul and I don’t know why.”

Hart and Danny Rifkin, the former road manager for the Grateful Dead, are responsible for booking the monk’s U.S. outings.

The Gyuto Monks have several albums out. Their most recent, The Practice Of Contentment, was released in 1998.