New bowls, old bowls

The bowls always have something to teach us. The old ones’ sounds are so rich and multi-layered that they effect one’s frequency immediately. They convey the artisan’s touch who made them, and I believe the monk(s)’ sensibility who played them.

Buying old bowls is always a treat, because although I usually get to hear them before I purchase them I don’t always see them. And certainly I can’t hold them over the phone! Still I get a sense of the bowls quickly, and I know if they are not right for me or my clients. I work with some great vendors who know how particular I am for my customers, so we make sure everything is in harmony. Harmony isn’t hard when one focuses on the relationship more than the product. When the box arrives, I can’t wait to dive into those syrofoam shells and get my hands on the actual bowls!

Lately, I have been buying more recently made bowls, because they are less expensive. I had one vendor from whom I purchased a number of older manipuri bowls at very reasonable prices. Many people couldn’t play the smaller bowls, so I needed to find someone who had cup bowls or the deeper style of bowl. I did, and am pleased that I can now offer bowls under $60. In the mix of bowls I recently purchased I even found a couple of melodic sets — three or four bowls that sound wonderful together.  That was an unexpected treat!

Whether a bowl is old or new however, it will find its way to you. I have both in my own collection. So one is not inherently better than the other, each one fills a role. Just play some bowls and listen. A voice will sing to you.

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