Madhuri reviews Tanmayo’s recently released album.
I remember, a long time ago in Poona, Osho telling us a story about a man who hired laborers to harvest the grapes in his vineyards. Those who began picking in the morning were to be paid a certain amount at the end of the day. In late afternoon more people showed up to help, and when night fell the owner paid everyone. And he gave the latecomers the same amount as he gave those who’d begun in early morning! The early-birds were incensed. “It doesn’t make sense,” they said, “We’ve been working all day, and they for only a short time! Yet they are paid as much as we are! That isn’t fair!”
Osho went on to say that he, too, gives the same to people who have just begun with him as to those who have been with him a long time.
I remember being much disturbed by this story. It didn’t make sense to me. I felt threatened in my “possession” of him, my “possession” of my years as a sannyasin.
Now it makes sense – because a Master just is, without time, without measure. He is just a giving. He does not divide and choose. He does not operate by the economies of the world.
I am not sure if I have ever met Tanmayo. Her sannyas bio says she’s been with Osho “over twenty years.” I don’t know if she saw him in the body. But he has given to her, and she has received.
This album is all about longing; and she has interpreted this longing rightly, and encouraged it, and gazed at it in wonder and raised up her voice in it and sung to the sky. She has not insulted it by pretending that she knows something. She has not squashed it under hectic businesses. She has not sublimated it into relationship anguishes, as I did at her age. She has not dulled it with movies and TV and searching for cat vids online (though I appreciate cat vids as much as the next person). She is singing it; loud and clear. What else is there to do?
In her album notes she credits Path of Love with much support for her unfolding way; an estimable grounding, I would say.
Her new CD is called Lost and Found. It has a beautiful cover – a canny, graceful balance of the blond goddess in black-and-white clothing, pale face and light hair against dark background, the vertical pole of her violin bow against an unfurling curl of palest pink, enormous open lilies. And her open arms and voice are balanced by the inward-going look of her lovely face, closed eyes.
Her voice is pure, generous, and somehow both controlled and free. Her name means “drunk and dissolving.” She says her music is about “…Crying from the heart…crying out the longing to be dissolved in His love. It’s about silent fire, passion, joy, tears and letting go. It’s about being drunk with the divine.”
There are eleven tracks. I heard sitar, piano, violin, flute, guitar, maybe a bit of synthesizer – and, of course, Tanmayo’s mature, sure and gifted voice, high and strong and floating on its wings.
This reviewer is, by the way, an unrepentant Motown-and-Soul freak, and it takes a lot to budge me towards anything high-falutin’. It’s got to be good. (Miten singing Till I Was Loved by You can swing me away from Otis Redding for a little while – but just for a bit.) It’s got to be useful to my craft – helpful to play during groups I’m leading; specially nice to hear while I’m painting and don’t want to have to leap up and boogie when the music won’t leave me alone.
This CD is certainly apropos to both. But I can imagine a young man – or a not-so-young one – driving a convertible on a nice day through the Highlands, Tanmayo’s voice streaming out behind like a rippling veil, like eddies of a stream. I can see that young or not-so-young man falling in love.
A few track notes:
#1: Calling: an Invocation. Sitar, violin; angelly noises – good for a heart meditation.
#2: Show Me the Way. Sounds like a soft, sighing wind…until gypsy violin struts in, gypsy weather brings shivers. Adept and professional! And she’s singing about one of my favorite things: Inside…
#4: Hide and Seek. She asks Osho, “Please come find me.” I like it! I wish I’d had the nerve to say that to him (or, for that matter, to a man!) It’s so female…
#8: Walk in Prayer – has some percussion in it. Nothing African, but it’s there – “I just wanna walk with you -” Well, me too!
#10: Silently has angelly humming behind the twangy bits. “Silently we wait for you…Silence is our prayer.” Reminds me of Human Design suggesting we shut up and let our auras speak; and I ponder further on the prayerful quality of silence…and am convinced.
I specially liked #9, A Call Through the Darkness. There’s flute – and I could see the darkness, as if between two hills in the countryside in Japan, the flute calling out through a really black night…I don’t usually like flute (I know, I know, that’s weird of me) but this was very evocative. Then we suddenly hear a Spanish gypsy howl! And Tanmayo starts singing, “Through the darkness a candle lights your way.” Well – it did, didn’t it? Does?
Let’s all do groovy things with our longing. It might be our greatest gift as humans. Lift it up; lift it up. Let the room hear you, the world even, in all its beauty and bewilderment; and the skies. We’re always thinking we have to Have something – but perhaps all we really have to have is longing. A wise man once said to me, when I showed him wordless and utter, helpless yearning with my arms raised high, head back: “This is Grace!”
Thank you, Tanmayo.
Madhuri, Osho News
Get a taste and listen to the Title Track: Lost and Found on Osho News
Tanmayo grew up in the north of Scotland and started to learn classical violin and piano when she was 7. In her early twenties she dropped her classical studies completely and instead, immersed herself in the Celtic music traditions. Around this time she also discovered she could sing. She came to Pune in 1994 where she took sannyas. Whenever she was there she played in Buddha Hall for the White Robe meditations and Music Groups, together with musicians like Prem Joshua, Manish Vyas, Bindu, Nivedano and Chinmaya Dunster. She now lives in Cologne, Germany with her musician partner, Prem Parijat. Lost and Found is her 3rd CD. www.tanmayomusic.com