I received a grant in the 90s for a vague project having something to do marrying sounds I intended to record in Asia with photos I intended to take and stories I’d try to tell. It all fell apart, or, more precisely, never came together. However, as part of this I interviewed friends, guides, and faculty associated with the Naropa Institute’s study abroad programs in Bali and Nepal and during my own travels pre and post-program. (I was the program’s sometimes “Director of Health and Well Being” from 1985-1997.) I spoke to people about music, local deities, and black magic.
Wayne Vitale and his wife are well-known ethnomusicologists and gamelan players in Bali. They know the island as few others do. Keith Dowman is a scholar, writer, and dzogchen meditation teacher who lives in Nepal. Fred Eiseman wrote the quintessential book on Balinese customs “Bali: Sekala and Niskala.” John Butt was my Southeast Asian Studies teacher at Macalaster college; my wife and I went to visit him after he had moved back to Chaing Mai to teach at Payap University. I recorded the dogs when I was walking home one night, north of Ubud, in Bali; they seemed to me to be barking in time with distant gamelan music. Pak Sumandhi was my drum teacher in Denpasar. I recorded the comments of guides I hired to take me around Pashipatinath and other sacred sites in Nepal, Burma, India and Tibet (“This is the sacrifice temple…”).Wayne on Black Magic Keith on Black Magic Fred on the Rights of Grass Fred on Offerings Sumandhi on Offerings Bali Dog Sync This is the Sacrifice Temple Hanuman Animism Spirit Houses Keith on Cows Keith on Dharmakaya