A few months ago a performance artist approached me with the idea of collaborating on an event. She would bring a group of imporvisational dancers together, I would put out a set of about 100 Himalayan singing bowls and they would dance to the sound of the bowls. I somewhat hesitantly accepted the idea not quite sure how it would play out.
The venue was the four eighteen project in Santa Cruz which has a nice hardwood floor, some carpets to roll out for people to sit on with pillows and regular chairs. I have a couple of hundred antique singing bowls so I sorted out a group of about a hundred that I laid out by group, octave and note. We put them at the back of the stage and at the back of the room behind the chairs so we could fill the room with sound. The bowls ranged from tiny little thadobati bowls to six pound jambatis. We had them up off the floor on tables covered with yoga mats for a firm but soft ringing surface draped with heavy cloth.
The group did a couple of hours of playing singing bowls and dancing, coming up with a game plan for the performance. We decided to ask a few audience members to come and ring bowls at the end so we had six people playing at once for the dancer's finale.
A few dozen people came to the performance, not a bad turnout. People enjoyed the playing and dancing and the Q&A we did afterwards (mostly me about Himalayan singing bowls). As usual after my events I invite people to come and play for themselves and if they want they can buy any of the bowls in the performance - which a couple of them did.
I was surprised how much I enjoyed placing the singing bowls in an artistic environment. I usually go for a more contemplative and focused setting. Still the bowls can bring their own magic into many situations and in this case it really worked.
We got a nice video of the event and are talking about doing it again.