You’ll Think of Classics from Queen, the Beatles and Ramones Differently After Watching Them Performed by a Zen Buddhist Monk

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Rock Cellar Magazine

He’s referred to as ‘The chanting, rollerblading monk at the Met’ in a 2007 New York Times profile, and Kazutaka Yamada has a lot to offer in terms of a unique form of entertainment. The Zen Buddhist monk recently uploaded some performance videos to his YouTube channel, and they’ll blow you away.

The channel has been live for a few years, but only recently has Yamada — going by the name Kossan on YouTube — played and sung classic rock hits like Queen‘s “We Will Rock You” and the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.”

Beginning with a prayer, here he is diving into “Yellow Submarine” using gongs and drums in a manner that gives new, refreshing life to the Beatles standard:

He’s game for a little uptick in temp, as evidenced by tackling “Teenage Lobotomy,” first made famous by Ramones:

More on Kossan, from the NY Times profile:

Mr. Yamada, also known as Kossan, says he is a Zen Buddhist monk and meditation teacher from Tokyo. He says he solicits donations from museumgoers and offers a spiritual eye in the urban storm by publicly chanting a Rinzai form of Zen Buddhism. From the Four Great Bodhisattva Vows, he chanted the last one, which is, “However endless the Buddha’s way is, I vow to follow it.”

He looks so East-meets-West, this robed Buddhist monk at the Met, chanting with eyes closed before the ornate museum facade. Some stop, some stare, and some ask to pose with them for a picture.

“New York is a very quick and noisy and a crazy place,” he said. “I think sometime people need to calm themselves down. I believe my chanting works for that.”

Kossan has also posted several videos of more traditional Buddhist hymns in addition to his repertoire of classic rock interpolations:

Click here to subscribe to his YouTube channel so you’ll be alerted the next time he uploads another of these videos.

h/t Open Culture

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