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…