The Indigenous religion of China is Taoismo. Its historical connection with philosophical Taoism of the fourth century B.C. is real, even if obscured by religious beliefs and shamanistic practices. Lao Tzu is deified as the Third Person in the Taoist Trinity, and the text of the Tao Te Ching is a revered scripture. Very influenced by Buddhism, forms of ritual were developed, Sino-Sanskrit texts were occasionally given a place on Taoist rites, and canonical texts were compiled, imitating Buddhist sutras.
The music here recorded is that of ordained and unordained priests of different schools. A Taoist priest is the indispensable intermediary through whom to approach the spirit world and to perform rites that ensure the protection to all kind of evil spirits and restore the spiritual equilibrium and purification in the communities.
The atmosphere generated in Taoist music is mysterious, chilling with powerful and dramatic hymns through the priest chants, and also with a strong help by the lay instrumentalists that use a lot of bells, ritual drums, flutes etc. A very interesting record to listening with a very open mind.
A1. Funeral Rite with cymbals (Begining)
A2- Funeral Rite (Conclusion)
A3. Exorcist Rite -The Marriage of Heaven & Earth
Excerpts From Tao Ch'ang (A4 To A7)
A4. Chant With Lute, Drum And Bell
A5. Shu Wen
A6. Threefold Invitation, With Ritual Drum
A7. Offering Of Tea And Incense
A8. Ch'ing Shen Ritual, Inviting The Spirits
Popular Taoist Rites (B1, B2)
B1. Hymns for purifying water, Etc.
B2. Incantations for purifying the mind, Etc.
B3. Chiao; Ritual meditation
B4. Chiao; Flower offering
B5. Ballad of the Skeleton
Communal Exorcist Rite, Ta Wang Hang (B6, B7)
B6. Preparing the boat
B7. Launching the boat
Jonh Levy was a British philosopher, mystic, author and recording engineer (1910-1976) whose recorded works include nearly 700 anthropological field recordings from various parts of Europe and Asia and whose personal collection is now housed at the School of Scottish Studies.