In an effort to preserve traditional culture and encourage creativity amongst his students, as well as to make offerings of music, Shang Longrik Gyatso Rinpoche has organized and directed several music groups.
Two of the groups under Rinpoche's direction are the Nanguan (南管) and the Guoyue (國樂), both of which are traditional music styles that originated in China. Nanguan music originates in Fujian province in China. Due to Taiwan's ancestral and close cultural ties to Fujian, Taiwan also maintains this style of music. However, it is somewhat of a dying breed of music and hence Rinpoche's emphasis on preserving this rare and unique musical style. It is characterized by slow tempos with high pitched falsetto singing and utilizes a wooden clapper - muban (木板) - to keep the tempo. Guoyue is a slightly different style that utilizes more Chinese instruments and is slightly livelier than Nanguan.
Both groups started in 2007 and consist of around ten members each. They practice weekly and perform for in-house events as well as external performances, including a performance at the National Center for Traditional Arts in Yilan (國立傳統藝術中心). Rinpoche has a great understanding and a wonderful ear for each of these styles. Rinpoche himself is a master Guqin (古琴) player and has even recorded a CD on this instrument.
In addition to the traditional arts, Rinpoche has also encouraged and organized a group of international students to start an in-house rock ‘n’ roll band. The band consists of guitar, bass, drums and keyboard players with members from a wide spectrum of musical backgrounds. They rotate on instrument and singing roles as many have skills in various areas. The group plays a mix of rocking party tunes as well as golden oldies from the 50s to 70s. They also play original numbers written by well-known Sailors front man David Archdall including "Ba Zheng Dao" (the Eightfold Path) as well as some odes to the great Kagyu Masters. The group plays at many in-house dinners and events and can also occasionally be seen giving acoustic and electric performances at other venues.