It was time for my routine Friday morning nap. I decided to do something different–put on some background music in place of silence. The DVD/CD changer already contained a few CDs that I’d been too lazy to put away into their respective jewel cases, so I turned on the receiver and the player. Music began playing while I adjusted the volume control to not too soft and not too loud.
I walked to the living room and settled into my favorite recliner chair. I noticed that the DVD/CD player had randomly selected the first disc of the two CD set, “Buddha-Bar” by Claude Challe. The first disc is titled: “Buddha’s Dinner”. The first track on that disc is “Weather Storm” by Craig Armstrong–a slow, orchestral and synthesizer–backed piano instrumental.
I should mention that “Buddha-Bar” is the first boxed set of a subsequent series of releases with a similar theme of one disc filled with chill/lounge music by various artists and the other disc filled with more uptempo world music and neo-disco type music. Most of the music on each of the discs is instrumental. There are a few vocal songs sprinkled in for variety throughout the various “Buddha-Bar” box sets.
Friday morning’s playback of disc one morphed into a different, for me, listening experience of that disc. Although I’ve owned the boxed set since late 1999, I’ve only used it for its intended purpose–background music for other activities. As the disc’s mix cross-faded to track 2, “Straight To The Heart” by Sina Vodjani, my consciousness entered a semi-meditative state. I became acutely aware of the piano, the guitar, the male voice, then the female voice. I was drawn into the Middle East–East Asian flavored feel of the second track.
The remainder of the listening time was spent with my mind fully engaged with the music in much the same manner I listen to intricate classical music. I was compelled to maintain sharp focus on the sounds. Each track was almost an out of body experience. I’d never felt this way about this album even though it had been played as background dozens of times over the past couple of decades.
There are a few tracks that felt more thrilling than I remembered, too. They are track 4, “Anni Rose” by Tulku–a multi-cultural fusion blend of pure World Music; track 7, “La Soledad” by Pink Martini is a traditional, Argentinian tango performed by an acoustic combo with stunning male vocals sung in Spanish; and track 12, “Guru Bramha” beautifully sung in Hindi by Jai Uttal.
After the 14th and final track, “Gypsy Rain” by Armen Chakmakian was finished, I felt totally revitalized and eager to carry on with the rest of my day.
When Saturday rolled around, I intended to recreate the experience with the second disc, “Buddha’s Party”. Although the music was equally pleasant, the psychological engagement didn’t quite mesh. The merging of music with my state of mind didn’t happen because I was too sleepy.
The point of this post is to remember to slow down and experience familiar music from a much more mindful perspective. Even if you listen to one of your favorite songs or pieces of music, it will sound richer when you hear it with the blend of intent and surrender.
If you want to hear the first “Buddha-Bar” and don’t own a copy, no-cost music from both CDs can be found via search engine inquiries. Other searches will help locate many of the other “Buddha-Bar” compilation sets.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Friedrich Nietzsche. “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”