Sunday, November 02, 2008

Musicians in the Western Buddhist Order

Yesterdays post on FWBO News featured Jnanadhara and his forthcoming tour with his group ‘The Pioneers’. Jnanadhara is but one of many musicians in the Western Buddhist Order and today we want to let you know of some of the others – and their websites, if they have them.

In no special order -

Padmamati, lead musician of ‘The Real Tuesday Weld’ is probably one of the Order’s most popular but least-known musicians. Popular in the world, little-known in the Sangha! Check him out at where he’s clocked up a remarkable 4578 friends – or on Wikipedia, where his band has its own entry.

In the words of his website, Padmamati (aka Stephen Coates) “began to create music to try to recreate the sounds he heard in his childhood home - 'the crackling of radios playing swing and easy listening in some distant room.' As The Real Tuesday Weld, he doesn’t hesitate to put those sounds to subversive use much like some of his most illustrious forebears and influences—such as Serge Gainsbourg and Ennio Morricone. From his first EP 'The Valentine' on Dreamy records and through many singles, eps and compilation tracks with Motorway Records, Kindercore and Bambini records to the album 'Cupid Meets Psyche' he has developed the sound known as 'Antique Beat'.”

There’s some great podcasts available – look for ‘The Real Tuesday Weld’ or their pseudonym 'The Clerkenwell Kid'. …

Suryagita (, who has recently moved back to New Zealand, is a singing coach and features on the self-produced and very beautiful CD ‘Fleeting World’. For many years her workshops were a favourite on the Buddhafield Festival.

Also much beloved at the Buddhafield Festival – and beyond – is Mahasukha at . He's also a singing teacher, and to quote someone from his workshops, “Mahasukha has a talent for bringing people together through singing in such a way that every one feels included, supported and encouraged whatever their ability or temperament. He inspires and builds confidence in others, allowing them to achieve and experience something beyond what they thought possible.”

Jinati, the Nottingham Buddhist Centre’s choir, have set many mantras and short suttas to music; you can find their promo video on YouTube.

Achintya ( from Bristol, principle teacher of the South Bristol Buddhist Centre, has for many years moved between his music and his Buddhism. As he himself puts it – “…a terrible mistake mothballing my geeetar in 1995 and 10 wasted years trying to be a 'good' buddhist - crying at a tsunami benefit concert in 2005 as the wonderful gasworks singers sang stings song fragile - a beautiful timely reminder that only music can heal like this - only music can reconnect me with what is best in me - then remembering songs already written and still to write in my remaining years - the songs started coming again - more love songs ragings and paeans - music can help us understand this crazy journey called being alive…

By contrast, Sarajit, recently moved back to his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, is a musician in the Hip Hop/Latin/Reggae style and founder of the group East Nasty – check their MySpace page .

Moving towards more classical music, Akasadeva from Cambridge has for many years been a concert pianist and composer, well-known both in UK and South Africa. His website is at where you’ll find his biography and upcoming schedule. He will shortly be performing in the Cape Town International Music Festival.

There are sure to be many more musicians and performers of all sorts in the wider FWBO Sangha, and we’d welcome hearing from you if you spot anyone we’ve missed…  Many of course just don't have web presences, for instance 'Tempo Verde', Amoghacitta's three-piece jazz band based at the LBC. 

Lastly, this article wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the FWBO’s London Buddhist Arts Centre, home to many Buddhist practitioners in dance, theatre, music and visual arts.

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