D A V I D  K A H N E

Photograph by Phil Knott
Words by Michelle Sullivan


David Kahne is a very inquisitive man. He is an American record producer, musician, composer, writer and he can be found most days, working away at Avatar Studios in New York City.  He has produced music with a spectrum of artists ranging from Tony Bennett to The Rubens, Regina Spektor, Paul McCartney, The Strokes and Fishbone.

As I write this I am imagining the exchange between you and I. Meaning - what is the benefit that I would like you to take from reading this? My hope is that this will be an introduction to the incredible mind and musings of David Kahne. A diverse music career informs David’s writing work. He has been a record label executive at Columbia Records and Warner Bros. Records, together with scoring films and various music production projects. He was recently in Argentina, where he was recording a classical guitar concerto that he had composed. The piece is titled “Ovanova” and he recorded it with Sergio Puccini.  
In the pursuit of understanding his way of being in the world, David began writing Koans in 2001. By loose definition, Koans are little tools that are used to help the student attain Satori, meaning understanding. They explore themes of comparable statements and the identity of opposites. A Koan is a narrative, question, or statement, which is used to provoke doubt and test a student's progress in Zen practice.  

David’s Koans were not originally intended for publishing, he was looking to process a time of confusion, and was essentially seeking to find a creative way of explaining the dynamics of emotional existence.  He does not profess to be a master, and talks openly about seeking to project subjective ideas, and to write them well enough that they can be richly projected upon.

David’s writing is highly informed by his experiences. I believe that his work can be of great use to us who work within a creative life. I have had this particular Koan printed and stuck to my office wall for the last week, and each time I look to it, I draw further meaning. So I wanted to share it with you.
In this Koan, the master is Bondhi and the student is Yaku. It is #34 from the collection.