Thursday, January 7, 2010

'My Body': Buddhist wisdom meets gross-out novelty song, circa 1980

I've just received word that the topic for next week's installment of The Contrast Podcast will be a return to songs pertaining to
Parts of The Body.

So far I've managed to take part in the previous 'body part' episodes, focusing on
The Eyes, The Skin, The Arms, The Lips, The Feet, The Stomach & Guts and The Heart, so I'd hate to miss out on doing The Hands next week.

When struck by the thought, "Eventually we'll run out of body parts and will have exhausted that topic", I got to thinking about songs on the topic of leaving the body behind.

I thought of 1968's 'Absolutely Free' by Frank Zappa & The Mothers, and then remembered this odd little novelty song, recorded by a Buddhist nun around 1980.

The LP, 'Awakening: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Ears' was an independent pressing originating from The City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, a large Buddhist community and monastery near Ukiah, California.

"...Based On The Teachings Of Shakyamuni Buddha And The Venerable Teachings Of Master Hua", the album attempted to make some concepts and dogma more palatable to Western ears.

Carrying a folky / new age-y vibe overall, the music takes a couple of detours into other genres, including this peppy and charming number, with whimsical lyrics regarding the decay of the human body after the spirit departs.

From the LP
'Awakening: Ancient Wisdom For Modern Ears'
(Wondrous Sounds Records, circa 1980),
Listen to: Bhikshuni Heng Yin - My Body
(click for audio)

The singer, former bhikshuni (now Dharma Master) Heng Yin studied under Hsuan Hua and spent many years translating Buddhist texts.

- To hear more songs from the 'Awakening' album, click here.
I can recommend the selection 'Gotta Do Something/Might As Well Cultivate', which sounds slightly reminiscent of early releases of Timbuk 3 from the last half of the '80s.

2 comments:

Chris Creel said...

That is just obscure enough to cultivate my interest. 'Cause it's about Zappa and Buddhism, two things I love!

Nadine said...

going through my own medical nightmare right now I just about busted something laughing to the body song. Hilarious!!!!!!

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