Japanese Buddhist Monk Covers Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy,” “Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” & More


The tune of the Beatles, probably the most influential band of all time, has persisted for greater than 5 many years now. It additionally turns out to have crossed all cultural obstacles: what number of people around the globe can concentrate to the recordings made in combination by way of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, and declare to be listening to one thing alien? The sheer adaptability of the Beatles’ songs definitely additionally has one thing to do with their endurance: they are recognizable when performed roughly because the Fab 4 performed them, and they are simply as recognizable when sung by way of utterly other voices, performed by way of utterly other tools, and set in utterly other cultural contexts.

Take the cover of “Yellow Submarine” on the most sensible of the publish, carried out now not by way of Ringo Starr however by way of a Eastern Buddhist monk who calls himself Kossan. Accompanying himself most effective with the sorts of drums and gongs one would pay attention in a temple, Kossan makes the Beatles’ musical story of existence underneath the waves his personal.

Critic Ian MacDonald calls the unique “Yellow Submarine” a “glowing novelty music not possible to dislike,” and audience on Youtube have discovered this extra monkish model similarly impossible to resist. Kossan’s cover of the Ramones’ “Teenage Lobotomy” simply above, whose distorted guitars sound each incongruous and really congruous certainly, has additionally begun to draw consideration.

The unique New York punk rockers might appear a fair odder selection than the Beatles for a Buddhist monk, however now not for this Buddhist monk, who is installed his personal time at the streets of the Large Apple. “Each and every weekend, Kazutaka Yamada straps on his blue Rollerblades and heads from his Chelsea rental to the Higher East Facet,” writes Corey Kilgannon in a 2007 post at The New York Times, relating to Kossan monk by way of his actual title. “After navigating the town’s streets and gliding via Central Park, he stops in entrance of the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork,” the place he “places on black sneakers and a big, cone-shaped straw hat, then holds out a picket bowl and for hours on finish, chants in Eastern the similar 4 strains of a Buddhist prayer.” The Instances additionally produced a video of Kossan’s public chanting, which incorporates a temporary interview with the person himself.

Extra in-depth is this English-translated conversation at My Eyes Tokyo, wherein Kossan tells of the way his musical profession started in Central Park: “When I used to be enjoying the sanshin on a bench, a man gave me a greenback. I used to be stunned as a result of I did not be expecting that in any respect. I used to be enjoying it there most effective as it used to be a pleasant day.” 13 years later he performs from his native land to web audiences around the globe, appearing now not simply hit songs from the West (and it could be arduous to get extra western than “We Will Rock You”), however Jap rock as smartly, like “Linda Linda Linda” by way of Eastern punk icons The Blue Hearts. Even on this approach, Kossan stays in a New York of the thoughts: “I am completely Eastern and got here from Japan so I persist with being a ‘100% natural Eastern’ right here in New York,” as he instructed My Eyes Tokyo. “I imagine that may be a actual New Yorker.”

by way of Boing Boing

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Based totally in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and declares on towns, language, and tradition. His initiatives come with the guide The Stateless Town: a Stroll via 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video sequence The City in Cinema. Practice him on Twitter at @colinmarshall, on Facebook, or on Instagram.

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