Simon Wickham-Smith

Simon Wickham-Smith

Simon Wickham-Smith (born Rustington, East Sussex, 2 February 1968) is a British musician, translator, academic and sometime astrologer. He first came to the attention of the experimental music underground with the release of "Lake", a collaboration with Richard Youngs issued under the moniker "R!!!S!!!". He and Youngs would go on to make many more albums including "Ceaucescu", "Pulse Of The Rooster" and "Metallic Sonatas" for labels such as Forced Exposure, Majora and VHF. He has also released a handful of solo albums, including one for Campbell Kneale's Celebrate Psi Phenomenon label but he is not as prolific in this regard as his erstwhile partner. He is an occasional member of the Helsinki Computer Orchestra, an indication of his move towards computer based music during the late '90s and early part of this decade. A new collaboration with Richard Youngs was released in 2006, the product of a five-year plan in which the duo recorded just 10 minutes of music each year. The album was titled "5 Years".

In 2006, with Pekka Kumpulainen, Wickham-Smith began the Inari Festival of Experimental Music (iFEM) in northern Finland. This small scale musical festival is thought to be the world's most northerly music festival.

In addition to his musical activities, Wickham-Smith is a member of the Association Of Professional Astrologers and, since 1998 has been researching the astrology of the transgendered and intersex community. He intends to publish a book on this subject.

In the early 1990s, while living in Davis, CA, Wickham-Smith began studying Tibetan and Mongolian. Towards the end of that decade, he decided to concentrate on Mongolian literature, and embarked upon a translation into English of the complete poetry of Danzanravjaa, the fifth Noyon Khutughtu of the Gobi (1803-1856), which was published in 2006. He has since published translations of many works of contemporary Mongolian literature, including Golden Hill (Altan Ovoo) by G Mend-Ooyo and The River Flows Gently (Gol Us Namuuhan Ursana) by O Dashbalbar.

In addition to these translations, Wickham-Smith is the international director of two Mongolian cultural organisations, the Mongolian Academy of Poetry and Culture and the Danzanravjaa Foundation, the general editor of the Kegan Paul Library of Mongolian Literature and a co-director of the Orchuulga Foundation, an organisation dedicated to the translation of Mongolian literature and the Center for Central Asian Literatures in Translation.

He was also for some years a Tibetan Buddhist monk and has extensively researched the life and work of Tshangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama (1683-1706/46).

In 2008, he was one of eight recipients of the PEN International Translation Fund grants, for his translation of the work of O Dashbalbar, and was recognised as a Leading Cultural Worker (Soyolin Terguuni Ajiltan) by the Government of Mongolia for his translation work.


Recordings of Simon Wickham-Smith's music can be purchased from, among others,

- [ Frog Peak (A Composer's Collective)]



* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs/A Band: Zene/Salivating Regina (Baby Huey 007) (1992)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Worried About Heaven/Muscles in Your Head (Fourth Dimension FDS36) (1994)
* Breaking the Plastic Hymen: Vinyl Virgins and Lo-Fi Whores compilation featuring Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Walking the Mongoose (Fisheye) (1996)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: The Enigma of Rotons (Hells Half Halo) (1998)

* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: 444D (Fourth Dimension FDTEN50) (1995)

* R!!!S!!!: Lake (2LP) (No Fans Records NFR02) (1990)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Ceaucescu (Forced Exposure FE029) (1992)
* Neil/Richard/Simon/Stewart: Durian Durian (Forced Exposure FE033) (1993)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Asthma & Diabetes (Majora) (1994)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Enedkeg (Majora) (1996)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Knish (Ignivomous Records IG07) (1996)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Giladji (Giardia) (1999)


* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Kretinmuzak (Slask SLACD 008)(1994)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: VEIL (for Greg) (Insignificant Records INS 016) (1997)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Red and Blue Bear - The Opera (VHF27) (1997)
* Stand Up For Art Rock (Because Space Rock is Over) compilation featuring Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: The Hartford Address (Extract) (VHF29) (1997)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Pulse of the Rooster (VHF35) (1998)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Metallic Sonatas (VHF40) (1999)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Butterfly Dust (VHF44) (1999)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Adelaide Audio (VHF53) (2000)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Lake (CD reissue) (VHF52) (2000)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: Lammergeier (VHF58) (2001)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Extreme Bukake (VHF65) (2002)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: dyrø (PseudoArcana CDR) (2002)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Murrinh Kulerrkkurrk (2CD) (Rhizome) (2004)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Rapt (Disposable Thumb Recordings) (2004)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: two4dancin (Celebrate Psi Phenomena) (2005)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: Buckminsterfullerene/Pange Lingua Gloriosi (2CD) (Celebrate Psi Phenomena) (2005)
* Simon Wickham-Smith & Richard Youngs: 5 Years (VHF99) (2006)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: three4listenin (3CD) (Celebrate Psi Phenomena) (2007)
* Simon Wickham-Smith: love&lamentation (Pogus) (2008)



* "The Making of a Myth: The Amazing Life and Death of the Sixth Dalai Lama" (International institute of Asian Studies [IIAS] Newsletter, Leiden, #32 November 2003, p27)
* "The Way of the World" (IIAS Newsletter, Leiden, #40 Spring 2006, p19)
* "Ban-de skya-min ser-min: Tsangs-dbyangs rGya-mtsho’s complex, confused and confusing relationship with sDe-srid Sangs-rgyas rGya-mtsho as portrayed in the Tsangs-dbyangs rGya-mtsho’i mgu-glu" in Bryan Cuevas and Kurtis Schaeffer (Eds) "Tibet in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries" (Proceedings of the 10th International Association of Tibetan Studies Seminar, Oxford 2003) (Leiden, Brill, 2006)
* "Danzanravjaa is my hero! The transformation of Tradition in contemporary Mongolian poetry" (IIAS Newsletter, Leiden, #44 Summer 2007, pp28-31)
* "The Negotiation of Cultural Difference in Translating Contemporary Mongolian Literature" (forthcoming, Proceedings of the 8th Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference, Seattle 2007)



* "Tshangs dbyangs rGya mtsho’i mgu glu" (66 poems, the so-called “Love Poems”, frequently translated, though almost certainly not the work of the Dalai Lama)

* "Rig ‘dzin Tshangs dbyangs rGya mtsho’i gsung mgur" (460 poems, including many from the “Love Poems”, the first English translation of the largest and most important collection of the popular verse-form called gzhas)

* "Tshangs dbyangs rGya mtsho’i gsang rnam" (the first English translation of the so-called “Secret Biography”, possibly a fraudulent text told to an innocent Mongolian monk, but purported to be the verbatim account of the 6th Dalai Lama of his life, in particular his disappearance from Lhasa and subsequent wanderings across Tibet and Mongolia)


* "Perfect Qualities: The Collected Poems of the 5th Noyon Khutagt Danzanravjaa (1803-1856)"
* (with Sh Tsog) "Ancient Splendor: The Best of Mongolian Poetry"2007
* G Mend-Ooyo "Golden Hill"
* G Mend-Ooyo "Nomadic Lyrics"
* (with Sh Tsog) "A Very Big White Elephant: New Voices in Mongolian Poetry"
* (with Sh Tsog) "The Best of Mongolian Poetry"
* O Dashbalbar "The River Flows Gently" 2008
* O Dashbalbar "The Battle for our Land has Begun"
* Ts Erdenetsogt "Sky of Mind"
* J Dashdondog "Mom, Dad and Me"
* (with Sh Tsog) "An Anthology of Mongolian Literature"


* [ SWS's personal website]
* [ SWS music for free at]
* [ Simon Wickham-Smith at Music Now]
* [ Douglas Wolk on R!!!S!!!]
* [ Center for Central Asian Literatures in Translation]
* [ Inari Festival of Contemporary Music]

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