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Donovan Q&A: Catching up with a folk rock superman
by Phil Gallo    Translate This Article
13 April 2012

Legendary singer-songwriter and poet Donovan is being honored Saturday, April 14, 2012 by being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.* A recent wide-ranging interview with Billboard explored in depth many facets of his life and the development of his music. The interview began by considering Donovan's many years' practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and how it has influenced his music, as well as his great support for the David Lynch Foundation, which supports the teaching of TM to help at-risk groups overcome the devastating effects of traumatic stress. It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring fulfilment to the field of the Arts.

The interviewer Phil Gallo asks: ''As one of the first and most visible people to experience TM in India, how has it affected your music?''

The article quotes Donovan as saying: ''In the early days when the Beatles and I went to India and returned, we knew our fans should have it and then the world should have it. We needed it.'' Donovan and the Beatles spent time in India in the late 1960s studying with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Founder of the Transcendental Meditation program.

Donovan goes on to describe the historic ''Change Begins Within'' benefit concert in New York, over 40 years later in April 2009, in which Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Donovan, and David Lynch ''are on the stage at Radio City Music Hall announcing to the world how schools have applied this meditation. Fear and anger and doubt have been subdued somewhat. It doesn't mean that you'll never be angry or filled with doubt again, but you won't hold on to it—all things the Maharishi spoke of. . . . My dream was to (figure out) how do we bring in a new generation of songwriters? As it progressed, I wrote songs with meditation in them. The Beatles wrote songs with meditation in them.''

Asked what was ''the first song you were aware of writing because of TM?'', Donovan mentions 'Happiness Runs'', which he wrote in India. ''Before India in '68 I was always looking for songs where people could sing along. It's part of the job to be a poet, folk singer—children's songs, rounds, circular songs. And so I made this circular song 'Happiness Runs' and it directly references meditation because it says 'happiness runs in a circular motion/thought is like a little boat upon the sea.' Simple words, but profound.''

Donovan also talks about another song he is known for: '' 'Hurdy Gurdy Man.' In the 18th century the hurdy gurdy man played the instrument the hurdy gurdy and he traveled from town to town and he brought the news. So I related the hurdy gurdy man in the song to the teacher, the Maharishi, who brings us songs of love.''

Click here to read the full interview on

* The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have had a major influence on the music industry through this genre.

© Copyright 2012 Billboard

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