Frank. I have been involved with the bowls for longer than anyone else who has written books on the subject. During this period of 42 years I have received teaching from the bowls and these revelations are unique and have never been mentioned or written about before by anyone else. Due to particular spiritual gifts that provide me with certain insights, I bring that added dimension to the study of singing bowls. Certain writers on the bowls have stated that I am the only person they know who can divine the nature of a bowl and I endeavour to share certain methods that may assist the fellow seeker.
Rose. What do you bring to the subject that hasn’t been covered before?
Frank. I bring a connection to the ancient Hindu metaphysics of sound and Nada Yoga, Mantra, how to hear and identify the sound of the elements from a bowl and acoustics of ancient Chinese bells. Also help in ascertaining whether an antique bowl has been or can be used for working with one of the five Dhyani Buddhas (meditation or contemplation Buddhas) or any other deity and has been suitably consecrated with special spiritual powers. I bring together from a variety of sources what is known about the bowls. Most others have more of a focus upon themselves. I clarify a number of terms in current usage that were originated by myself and also include more that I’ve not shared publicly. I own some very rare bowls and these are included in the book.
Rose. Why should someone buy your bowl book as opposed to others on the subject?
Frank. My book includes all the information from other books in one place and extends beyond what has been given out before. For instance, I own two other books on the subject that give advanced techniques both have no more than 15 whereas mine has 60. One of these individuals claims to have been working with the bowls for nine years the other sixteen years. I’ve been working for forty-two years. Having been involved longer I have researched more areas of relevant and related interest.
Rose. Who can benefit from buying this book? Who is it aimed at? Who would it appeal to?
Frank. Any musician interested in the deeper or subtler aspects of sound (as through the Hindu metaphysics of sound in particular). Sound healers (especially those working with singing bowls) and singing bowl practitioners or anyone who owns a singing bowl. It is also aimed at anyone curious about those levels of sound that transcend the merely physical. In that sense I am not teaching but rather sharing my experiences for those interested – from whatever angle they might approach it from. I’m not saying that this is how it is or how it has to be. I’m simply sharing what I’ve learnt because it is out-of-the-ordinary. For those wishing to pursue a similar road less travelled through sound it may help to point the way or to substantiate their own findings. It would appeal to those interested in the deeper and more spiritual aspects of the bowls and of life in general.
Rose. What will the casual bowl player, professional musician, healer or collector gain from reading your book?
Frank. The casual bowl player, as you put it, will discover an endless series of revelations to deepen their understanding, awareness, and way of approaching and playing their bowl. The professional musician will discover an alternative series of overtones that don’t obey the rules they are used to or that their instruments obey. Each singing bowl has a unique set of partials (aka overtones or harmonics) and this is explained and demonstrated through a number of tables and diagrams in the book. Otherwise, they will perhaps learn to listen to every sound that they can produce upon their instrument as I have surrendered to the individual world of each singing bowl. One way ahead for music lies in this entering into the magic of tone – as Dane Rudhyar put it. Sound healers will learn how to identify a number of correspondences between the sound of their bowl and the planetary rays, the elements, and the chakras. The collector can glean information regarding the variety of shapes or forms available. Over 100 are listed in my book with further extensions to the list arising from the sound qualities within certain bowls or their supersensible qualities giving us a list of over 270 bowl types. There are some 25 exercises suggesting ways to work with the partials – admittedly, this is involves advanced techniques whilst not every bowl will be of a quality making all such exercises available.
Rose. Will a complete novice be able to play a Tibetan singing bowl as a result of reading this book?
Frank. Yes. I have identified two basic types of singing bowls that I named Yang or Yin back in the 80s. Advice on playing either type and on the implements used for getting the best sound from any bowl is supplied including photos of a variety of such implements for the two basic ways of either striking or stroking a bowl. Above and beyond these basics also included is advice on how to hold the bowl for different sounds and also for the technique of adding water or of ululating the bowl.
Rose. Why did you feel the need to write this book?
Frank. The main reason was to share for posterity, if nothing else, my lifetime’s findings. Another reason was that with these very personal and uniquely individual insights I have not been able to share during workshops due to how others might use this information to support their ego or to gain money from writing articles, etc. I already own many books that have taken my ideas shared in workshops and website articles yet my name isn’t even mentioned in these books. Some of my insights shared return to me in unidentifiable forms being used by merchants to support charging large amounts of money for their bowls (Master bowl, Planet Bowl, Chakra Bowl being a few such instances). Once the teachings that I have received from the bowls are ‘out there’ I can more freely share publicly and no longer have to keep them ‘up my sleeve’ or secret or hidden.
Rose. How did you decide what to leave in or take out of the book?
Frank. I had a real problem writing the book. I began with a scheme with the various chapters and what I wanted to write about in each. I did manage to write the first chapter. But I couldn’t get going. So I then adopted the attitude or writing about whatever came up and that I felt inspired to write about and worry about where it went in the book afterwards. I have countless years of insights and meditative experiences written on endless scraps of paper or in notepads, etc, and in the past twenty years or so recorded onto disc or camcorder. Many of these are too personal or too deeply involved with the spiritual stream to which I belong to be allowed out. Others didn’t lend themselves to where it was all going. Having been an improvising musician (total improvisation – no talking or discussion between musicians beforehand – and often precious little afterwards) since 1968 I tend to improvise my workshops, lectures and now this book. Otherwise, space considerations dictated what might be superfluous or repetitive in some way or another. There are also chapters on the ting-sha and the drilbu. Two percussive ritual instruments familiar to those attending or listening to Tibetan Buddhist ritual music and often used by western bowl players in their bowl music.
Rose. What makes you qualified to write a book on this subject?
Frank. Well, I guess, firstly my 42 years of working with bowls and just short of 50 years of working in music. When I began working with the bowls absolutely nothing was known or spoken about them. I had it all to discover – which was a wonderful freedom. There was simply the sound and no worries about whether or not I was doing it right according to some authority or another – religious or otherwise. The sound taught me. Then in 1973 a spirit helper from ancient Tibetan (thousands of years before Buddhism came to Tibet) came to help me unfold far deeper and spiritual aspects of my sacred sounds. Many years later I would find a few rare books, or teachings, that confirmed that such a tradition, or way of working with sound, did/does in fact exist. So I have been initiated into the mysteries of sound by my own research and studies and from otherworldly sources plus my clairvoyant and clairaudient gifts from birth (as I later learned from my father when 16 years old). It was at that same time that I learnt that I was a trance medium, as was (unbeknown to me) my father. I have appeared on 105 album releases with 14 of these devoted solely to singing bowl music and always to critical acclaim, whilst some of these have been best sellers in their field. I have met many persons initiated into the secrets of sound and they have all recognised me as being part of such a ‘family.’ For instance, the Hungarian shaman Joska Soos (mentioned and quoted in several books by European writers on the bowls) when he first met me in 1981 at Olympia’s Festival of Mind, Body & Spirit in London came to purchase my LP “DEEP PEACE” and simply said to me, “Me shaman. You shaman too.” Later he invited me to take the afternoon session at one of his few workshops in the UK. Accounts of my meetings sharing with those similarly gifted are included within the book alongside other anecdotes. Many world experts in the field have been to visit me and always leave with new techniques they’ve learnt from me. I’ve done spiritual astrology for almost 40 years, which involves looking into the client’s past lives, and so far I’ve been told that everything I ever said has been proved true (not only about the past lives). Similarly with my sound healings – for the vast majority of the time the client says absolutely nothing to me about what they are suffering from or hoping to get from the treatment. I have to use my clairvoyant gifts – but at the close when I share what I’ve seen and done to help I’ve always (bar once – although I subsequently learnt more about that individual and their family that gave ample indication that I was again correct in my observations) been told that I’ve hit the nail right on the head. I’ve always been privileged to have worked with the top musicians in the field – playing drums in one of the top British Blues bands in 1966-68 alongside the late great Paul Kossoff (of FREE fame and their hit ‘Alright now.’) and then in the avant garde jazz/improvising field with the leading innovators in the world the late Derek Bailey and Evan Parker (playing in the Frank Perry Trio) and also co-founder of Ovary Lodge with one of Europe’s leading improvising pianists Keith Tippett. I was also responsible for innovations in playing techniques in both of these fields. I also feature in the book (PERCUSSION PROFILES) celebrating 25 of the most creative percussionists in the world.
Rose. How long has it taken for you to write this book?
Frank. Probably around fifteen years.
Rose. Do you plan to write another book after this one and if so on what subject?
Frank. Another book I’ve been involved with since 2006, is a co-authored one on the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich. I was asked to contribute commentaries to some of his paintings. I wrote about 45 a month or two after I was approached way back then but I’m still waiting for the other writer to finish his part – that wasn’t even mentioned or to be included at the outset of that project. Other than that, I would like to write a book on sound healing with the bowls. I unfolded my very own system of sound healing (only using the bowls) back in 1985 that I call Spiritual Sound Healing as it combines spiritual healing and sound healing.
Rose. Where can the customer buy the book?
Frank. Most good retail outlets. I’ve seen it advertised on Amazon for pre-order.
Rose. How much is it?
Frank. £14.95 I think.
Rose. Where can they find out more about you?
Frank. My website www.frankperry.co.uk This is currently undergoing rebuilding due to my former host no longer hosting any websites and the new host requires a new format. So I need to learn the ropes again and rebuild it all up. It was a very large website. Currently, I’m far too busy dealing with copyright issues, responding to editor’s comments, seeking out remote quotations for listing and writing a glossary. Once the book is finished I intend to give more time to rebuilding the website.