Asian News 8/9

Smoking Mad

Alicia Keys was not pleased after discovering her face being used to advertise cigarettes in Indonesia before her July 31 concert in Jakarta.

She protested and Philip Morris International, one of the sponsors of the concert, relented and took down the billboards and posters it had paid for to promote the show.

"I am an unyielding advocate for the well-being of children around the world and do not condone or endorse smoking," Keys said in a letter released by her record company, Sony-BMG Music Entertainment.

The advertisements for the concert featured the name and slogans of a local brand of cigarettes – A Mild – that is produced by a Philip Morris affiliate.

Apparently, Keys was alerted to the ads by Tobacco Free Kids, a Washington-based anti-smoking organization. No one has reported whether Philip Morris has asked for its sponsorship money back.

Tobacco companies are prohibited from from sponsoring concerts in the U.S., but Indonesia has no such regulations. The affiliate, HM Sampoerna, often sponsors sporting events and pop concerts in Indonesia.


A Rocking Homecoming

A veteran group of Indonesian rockers has found new local fans thanks to the ubiquity of YouTube. The Tielman Brothers, who helped introduce the high-energy rock ‘n’ roll show to Europe in the late ‘50s, have finally been discovered in their native land.

Last month, Andy Tielman, now 72, returned to Indonesia to perform at the Jakarta Rock Parade.

The well-received performance lasted well into the night and occasioned a short article in the local edition of Rolling Stone, which sent rock fans to the Internet to hunt down footage of the concert and vintage film of the quartet in their heyday.

Born to a Dutch-Indonesian father and a German-Arab mother, Andy, Reggy, Ponthon and Loulou started playing folk tunes as pre-teens for family and friends.

Soon they were traveling around the country. However, the serious political situation at the time prompted the family to move to Holland, where the Tielmans adopted rock ‘n’ roll and became famous in Europe for their energetic shows.

They sold out concert halls and became the first musicians to ever perform at a football stadium in Israel. Some believe they may even have inspired John Lennon, whom Andy said saw them perform.

Only Andy and his older brother, Reggy, remain. Reggy is too frail to perform any more, but Andy told reporters he hopes to return to Indonesia to play again in the near future.


Kai Band Reunites

One of the Japan’s biggest rock bands of the ’70s announced it would reunite for a domestic tour this fall.

The Kai Band broke up in 1986 after a solid 12-year run of hit albums and sold-out arena shows.

Led by vocalist Yoshihiro Kai, the group has since gotten together for the occasional one-off concert, and toured briefly in 2001.

The decision to make another go was likely spurred by the warm reception for the re-release of the band’s back catalogue last year.

A concert to commemorate the re-release reportedly resulted in tickets being sold on an online auction site for as much as ¥400,000 ($3,750). Before the tour starts in October, the band will release two concert DVDs.