This Sunday In London, a Plan to Celebrate Bowie's Life with Silence

David Bowie performs in London.
Dave Benett/Getty Images

David Bowie performs in London.

For David Bowie fans, this coming Sunday, Jan. 8 has added resonance. Marking what would have been the singer's 70th birthday and coming two days before the first anniversary of his death, it's a day when people across the world will be reflecting on and paying tribute to one of music's all-time talents.

"He was probably the ultimate artist. He really put everything, his heart and soul into his music," says Will Williams, who will be leading one of the day's more unique commemorative events -- a group mediation for 130 people at London's Olympic studios, followed by a playback of Bowie's 1972 album The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars and 1974's Diamond Dogs, which was recorded in the very same building.

"There's going to be loads of people at this event who are massive Bowie fans that have heard those albums hundreds of times before, if not thousands of times before. I can guarantee you they will never have heard them like this," promises Williams, who spent seven years managing bands and running club nights before discovering meditation, traveling the world to learn from the masters and setting up his own practice, London-based Will Williams Meditation.

It's thanks to that training and the advanced Vedic meditative techniques that Williams learned and now teaches that he says audience members will gain a "higher sense of perception" that significantly enhances the listening experience and unearths new textures, sounds and intricacies within the music. Olympic Studios' state of the art Dolby Atmos 3D sound system, no doubt, probably helps too.

"You find yourself engaging with the words, melodies, harmonies and arrangements at a far deeper level. It's like you are feeling the music rather than just hearing it. People's senses will be so finely tuned it will be as if they are the engineer or the producer. The essence and sentiment of what Bowie was trying to get across will hit them in their gut or in their hearts in a way that they probably haven't experienced."

The choice of Bowie for the first ever Shavasana Disco, named after the yoga corpse pose, was born out of Williams' personal admiration for his music and is one that he thinks the former Thin White Duke would approve of. "It feels like the sort of thing that he would have been a fan of; that innovative approach to engaging with music and art in a different way," says Williams of the fully subscribed free event, where tickets were allocated via a ballot system.

A follow-up event will be held in the spring based around an equally legendary as-yet-unnamed recording artist, while a live recreation of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band performed by an 'all-star band' of musicians (beginning with a guided group meditation) is scheduled to take place in front of 400 people at London's Jazz Cafe June 1, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of its release.

"We want to take the concept as far as possible," says Williams, calling Shavasana Disco a fun, life enhancing event that's designed to appeal to meditation novices and connoisseurs alike. "We're really keen to forward this idea of going back to appreciating music as art, rather than this very instant gratification," he states. "It feels like the art of the album is losing its relevance quite quickly in our contemporary society. What we're doing is effectively chilling out, with eyes closed and letting the entire album sweep over us and take us on a journey of emotion, intrigue and sonic delight."

"This is about making that artwork feel like a living breathing visceral experience for the audience, as opposed to something that's just playing in the background or only has half of your attention. It's putting ourselves in a neurological and physiological special place where we can actually absorb that piece of music at a whole new level."