Mystical musician’s journey to the soul
by David Haith
Coaxing ethereal sounds from ancient bells, cymbals, gongs, chimes and bowls Frank Perry is not so much a musician – more an explorer.
The unmapped territory he visits is the mysterious world of the mind. His quest is to uncover the link between music and the superconscious or even the soul.
Frank 38, who lives with his wife Christine and three children at Poulner, Ringwood, and has recorded 11 albums which sell all over the world, has not always been a mystical musician.
Back in 1964 he was a rock drummer in a blues band alongside the famous Paul Kossoff, who died through drugs after hitting the big time with the cult band Free.
Frank branched off into free-form jazz but after leading his own group in 1974 dropped out, “needing to rethink my musical vocabulary and develop a new approach to music.”
And that’s where the gongs and chimes came in and merged with Frank’s long-term interest in ancient Eastern esoteric philosophies.
His father was a trance medium and Frank too found he had the gift of communication with “the inner planes.”
He believes he’s in touch with beings who were on earth thousands of years ago and is certain he’s lived 10 times before in Tibet.
“I’m trying to get some of this expanded consciousness into my music,” he explained. “I’m attempting to make myself a pure channel but I’m not off into my own world.”
“I’m interested in communication and I believe that musical sounds affect people at very deep levels.
“I’m interested in providing a door or ladder into another world. I’m trying to materialise the spiritual.”
At the last count he had 52 antique Oriental instruments and around 100 from contemporary China or the East – so many, in fact, that all but one or two are safely in store in bank vaults and are retrieved only for concerts or recordings.
He even makes his own instruments – huge petal shaped discs he calls Petalumines and made from a special Swiss bell metal which when struck ring for five minutes.
Most fascinating of Frank’s strange music makers is his priceless collection of Tibetan singing bowls made from seven sacred metals and many centuries old.
He strokes their rims with special wooden sticks evoking a shrill, clear note. He can change the pitch and “play” the bowl by raising it as it rings to his lips.
Some of the dishes are so sacred that he’s anxious that no stranger touches them.
“They’re charged with psycho-spiritual powers,” he says.
One “panic” bowl gives out a deafening screech like scraping a blackboard and is used for exorcism.
Although his musical career began with drums he now shuns them. He explained “Drums and cowbells have a short resonance, meaning rhythm, meaning time. And time means worldly consciousness. But instruments which ring on for a long period mean the listener can move into non-time consciousness.”
If you find all this a little too way-out and hard to take then it might also be difficult to accept that Frank has come by many of his ancient instruments through tip-offs from “the other world.”
Once a voice told him to go to Portobello market where he’d find some bells. Sure enough he was able to buy three 300-year-old Japanese temple bells. . . from a crockery stall.
It’s not unusual for a unknown yogi to approach him in the street and hand over some sacred bell which he insists on giving as part of some cosmic plan.
Other instruments come less mysteriously – like the Chinese bell tree which he bought after spotting the five bells on the door of a violin shop in Edinburgh.
Among Frank’s many other talents is painting – he has a wall full of “planetary mandalas,” coloured meditation patterns to help him explorer connections between colour, sound and healing energies.
He must also be the only Advertiser reader who is an expert in the art of Mongolian Xhoomij chanting – an uncanny ability to sing different pitched notes at the same time by varying the shape of his mouth cavity.
To keep Frank on “the path” is Lom Phook Trenglam, “a Shamanistic Tibetan who was upon earth several thousand years before Buddhism came to Tibet.”
He says Lom Phook and his other discarnate guides, including a Red Indian, are merely helpers.
He said: “I have complete free will. I’m still an individual. I’m a co-operator with them. I’m not controlled – I’m led.”