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What’s Donovan got to do with Bali? He’s a Hindu Buddhist Ubudist!

by Susi, 29 March 2012

donovan inducted rock and roll hall of fame

Big news. Donovan is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and (Marketing) Museum on April 14th. This pixie troubador out of deepest Glasgow enchanted the world in the sixties with his psychedelic naif persona and almost childlike sing-along songs. He was seminal (if I dare use that word), in introducing the soft side of masculinity to a post-war world of cold, distant, “manly” men (e.g. Don Draper). Donovan’s elfen self and his approachable songs were prominent in the soundtrack of my childhood and adolescence and remain unforgettable.

donovan sixties sunshine superman 2012 hall of fame inductee

So, all praise the pixie prophet! Celebrate cuteness on 14 April, and watch the live simulcast of the ceremony, concert and party as Donovan gets inducted while fairy cults the world over (Ubud being a centre of such shenanigans), dance in rings flinging flowers and off-gassing patchouli essences far and wide.

donovan satsang with maharishi

What’s this got to do with Bali? Easy answer. Bali as we know it, love it, and dream it runs on an operating system that’s a synthesis of archaic Hindu mythology and Tantric Buddhism, plus a handful of hairy hardcore folklore and superstition thrown into the mix.

Would Donvan be all over that? Of course. We’ve seen him with Mia Farrow, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, getting great satsang with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi the founder of Transcendental Meditation (above) in India. And we’ve got him covered by the repected British daily, The Independent, under the headline “Donovan: Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Buddha and Me“. Read it and find out how Donovan recalls that he “taught Lennon and McCartney a thing or two, prompted the Pop Art movement” and instigated the Summer of Love. Oh, and the Rolling Stone has validated the presence of Buddhist monks in flowing robes at his concerts, notably a recent one where Jimmy Page joined him onstage. (Don’t you love the way my dinosaur generation clings so faithfully to its fossils?)

ubud spirit festival needs donovan for 2013

Second reason Donovan is all about Bali: The Ubud Spirit Festival. It’s going on, like, right about now, ish. I’ve been in Bali approximately two decades, and was rooted in mildew-coated Ubud for seven years, but I’ve never attended one single moment of an Ubud Spirit Festival yet. And I know the organisers personally! Is that insane, or what? I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either. Whatever. To get to the point, who would be better than Donovan to perform at the Ubud Spirit Festival 2013? C’mon, Ubudians, get with it. He made a hit of “Season of the Witch,” a song that would be a shoe-in for the official anthem of Ubud Bulés as a group, particularly given the fact that 88% of them are female, and most boast abundant attributes that would resonate well with this particular sixties hit.

donvan ideal idol for ubud

So, there we have it. Donovan. The sunshine superman universal soldier hurdy gurdy man shall be Bali’s (or at least Ubud’s) new patron saint. Heaven knows, Ubud goes through patron saints like a Brisbane bad boy goes through Bintangs in Kuta. So why not? By the way, what ever happened to the ill-conceived Marketing Museum in Ubud, which canonised antediluvian marketing maven Philip Kotler? How weird was that? (See Rio Helmi‘s blog post asking the same question.) Donovan would have more staying power than Kotler as Ubud’s mascot, and would without the least provocation join merrily in the festivities and spectacles of Ubud adat life. Can we invite Donovan for a year as guru-in-residence at the Ubud palace? Tjok Raka, do please chip in here to second the motion. Thanks.

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