Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Mon, 11 Dec 2006

Compassionate Monks

I'm not at all religious, and not particularly 'spiritual', but I have an interest in other cultures. I found out that some buddhist monks would be performing some of their ceremonies at a local school and thought it was worth a look. I took my daughter along for the experience. It was more like being in church than a musical event. The monks came out to the sound of some huge horns that really shook the hall, carrying pictures of the Dalai Lama and of their own spiritial leader, a young boy who is in the 'care' of the Chinese authorities. Some of the monks from the Tibetan monastry escaped to India and founded a new one there.

They performed various ceremonies. Some were just chanting and meditation, others had dancing in incredible costumes with some great masks. The 'music' consisted of the big horns, some smaller versions, cymbals, drums and bells. Not a great deal of melodic variation and not the sort of thing I would want to listen to in isolation, but atmospheric. A British woman gave an introduction to each rite to give us some idea of what was going on.

The audience of maybe 150(?) looked to consist of many people who looked as you might expect a British buddhist to look, with an average age of older than me. I enjoyed it as a novelty and a cultural experience that I might only otherwise see on a TV documentary. I could appreciate the dedication needed to memorise the routines.

The day before I indulged in some more familiar musical exploration in a housewarming come jam session at Malc's new place, an isolated bungalow in the depths of Bedfordshire. I had a good drum and played my guitar (too) loudly. I was quite pleased with the sound my Gordon Smith+Peavey were making. I don't often get the chance to crank it up. I also took part in a 'play a song on the acoustic' session, but was frustrated by not being able to play any whole songs, let alone sing along. I need to play more at home to learn some new tunes. I have my heart set on getting an acoustic to encourage me to just pick it up and play.

As I was doing a fair bit of driving around I recorded some more traces for OSM to fill in some gaps in the rural roads.

[12:57] | [/Entertainment] | Comments | G
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