by Leonardo Vittorio Arena
Orient Pop, La musica dello spirito (The Music of Spirit, Rom, Castelvecchi 2008) is an Italian book , where Leonardo Vittorio Arena deals with the Eastern and alchemical influences on his music and his thought. The book features a chapter on David Sylvian on this subject. Leonardo describes the Eastern and alchemical influences on David’s music and David reflects his thoughts as well.
All was based on an extensive interview between the author and David. This interview is also included in the book (in Italian).
Publisher: Castelvecchi Editore, Roma
Price: about 22 euro
In my book I dealt with some musicians who have been inspired by Eastern philosophies and alchemy as well, such as The Beatles (since Maharishi’s time), Bob Dylan (labeled as a Zen singer), Van Morrison, Peter Hammill, The King Crimson, John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Terry Riley, Tom Waits, Robert Wyatt, Keith Jarrett, John Cage, Brian Eno, and others.
I dedicated to David an entire chapter. I began to deal with his years with the Japan, keeping on his solo years, through an analysis of Brilliant Trees, Gone To Earth, Secret, Dead Bees, Camphor (The Song Which Gives…) up to Rain Tree Crow, The First Day, and Blemish.
I gave wide space to Bhakti Yoga, Buddhism, and Alchemical influences upon him. I analyzed the texts and the musical milieu of his songs. I think that my twofold experience as a musician and an Orientalist may be revealing on the topic.
In the interview I highlighted the differences of his approach to the East compared with George Harrison’s, and the spiritual meaning of his music and his character. In particular, David and I had been talking about meditation, spiritual practice, the use of his music in my courses of meditation, the feminine aspects of the artist, the spiritual meaning of David’ loneliness and introversion in Jungian terms, the symbology of the bee, David’s approach to the music via trial and error, and so on. I think that may stimulate fan’s interest all over the world.
Leonardo is a university teacher in “Religions and Philosophies of Far East” and a musician as well.