Old Time Zen

A friend from Philadelphia recently sent the following quote to me via email:

“A year or so ago on the bluegrass mailing list, one of the
bluegrassers was comparing their custom of playing a tune
until all the verses had been sung with the old-time custom
of playing the same tune ad infinitum. He remarked that
the object of old-time music was to bore people.
I explained that the object of an old-time jam session is
enlightenment (satori, if you will)—boredom is only a
means to that end.”  Charlie Bowen

This led to a search online (shouldn’t all posts about zen include some reference to a search?) and took me to the original source: an information sheet about a Hillbilly Zen workshop at the 2006 Solfest.  Other bits of wisdom from the workshop:

The violin music is important because we play it.

Repetition of the tune in the groove leads people to an absorption, a place of clarity which most old-time musicians like.

And my favorite:

Respect for tradition is a kind of filter. People who are willing to bow down to tradition have a certain amount of respect for something greater than themselves.

So, stop to recognize a power greater than yourself and enjoy two minutes of Old Time Zen with Uncle Earl, playing the appropriately titled (for this blog) Browns’ Dream.

More to come…


One Response

  1. great post!

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