Asian News 03/01

Guitarist Suzuki Busted

Japan’s sudden crackdown on recreational drug users has claimed another prominent musician.

Tokyo police arrested guitarist Shigeru Suzuki Feb. 17 for possession of marijuana.

The 57-year-old musician was sitting in his illegally parked car in the waterfront district of Tokyo. Officers who checked on the vehicle thought his behavior suspicious and searched the car. They found about a gram of pot in a Tupperware container. Suzuki admitted it was his and the police later searched his home.

Suzuki was a founding member in 1969 of the pioneering Japanese folk-rock band Happy End, whose co-founder Haruomi Hosono went on to form Yellow Magic Orchestra in the late 1970s.

The Japanese edition of Rolling Stone named Happy End’s debut the best Japanese rock album of all time.
After the group broke up in 1974, Suzuki played in other influential bands, including Caramel Mama, Tin Pan Alley and Hucklebuck.

He also recorded a solo album in Los Angeles in 1975.


Jacko Sighting In India

British-Pakistani composer and singer Adnan Sami told the Times of India that he is working on an album with Michael, Jermaine and Janet Jackson in Los Angeles.

Sami said he received a phone call from the Jacksons out of the blue and was shocked to discover that the musical siblings had been studying his music carefully.

Jermaine’s wife, Halima, is from Afghanistan and once lived in Chandigarh, India, where she became familiar with Sami’s music. She later introduced the music to her husband, who passed it on to his brother and sister.

Sami, who is based in Mumbai, said he has already had three meetings with the Jacksons, who are producing an album of his music.

Though Sami grew up speaking English, this will be his first English-language album. So far, four songs have been completed.

Sami said that the music is “like Motown-meets-world-music-meets-Indian-music.”

He also said the Jacksons’ early music was a big influence on his own style.


Fest Excludes Pakistan

The South Asian Bands music festival, which started Feb. 20 in New Delhi, featured music groups from India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives and Bhutan, but none from Pakistan.

Organizers said that following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last year, they could not guarantee security for Pakistan artists, so a decision was made to not invite any groups from Pakistan.

The Indian government has said that the terrorist attacks were planned in and launched from the predominantly Muslim country.

The festival was first held in 2007 as a side event to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation summit and attracted more than 15,000 people. The high point of the festival was said to be the performance by the Pakistani band Strings.