Existential Hymns

Works by Tyler Burba

Tyler Burba performing at St. Mark's Church on the Bowery, New Years' Day Poetry Marathon, 2012.

Tyler Burba got his start in music by singing at gospel competitions and performing on local Christian radio programs in the Pacific Northwest. During these early years, he also taught himself how to play piano and guitar after becoming interested in rock n roll artists like Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. He has since written, recorded, and performed in a number of genres, including; classical, jazz, blues, rock n roll, Latin, country, experimental/avant-garde and spoken word. With his solo project, Visit, he has released two albums of existential country music.

Growing up in Vancouver, Washington, Burba took an early interest in music and literature. He met the poet Allen Ginsberg at age fifteen who encouraged him to continue his study of poetry. Burba would later go to Naropa Institute (co-founded by Ginsberg) to study poetry and music. Being at Buddhist University, he began a life-long study of the Dharma and the practice of meditation, rooted in Tibetan Buddhism. Burba is currently a student of the Dzogchen tradition with additional training in the Shambhala lineage, focusing especially on sense perception as a vehicle for mindfulness and existential questions. He is working and was to use listening as a vehicle for greater awareness and grounding in the present.

Burba continued his studies at European Graduate School, where he is completing his doctoral work on visual ecstasy and synesthesia. He received a Master’s degree at EGS after completing a Master’s thesis on ecstatic listening which was later published by Atropos Press as “On Becoming Music: Between Boredom and Ecstasy” (with a piece by Peter Price). He received a second master’s degree in Ethnomusicology from Hunter College in 2018.

Since 2005, he has worked as a English teacher for New York Public schools but has recently started teaching Music. Two albums are due out in 2019: “Existential Hymns,” a collection of new songs and “Now Everybody” an album of Thomas Pynchon lyrics tuned by Burba and produced by Christian Hӓnggi.




This is perhaps the most subversive album this reviewer has come across for some time. Visit is essentially a vehicle for Tyler Burba, a veritable renaissance man who studied under Alan Ginsberg, who paints and writes poetry and teaches disadvantaged kids. In addition, as evidenced here, he has some terrific country chops and this album is chock full of excellent songs that sound as if they could be by Johnny Cash in his gospel period with pedal steel and banjos galore.
— Paul Kerr, www.americana-uk.com