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28 Oct 06 00:00 |






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Japan is known as the only oriental country that embraced western influences so easily in their own culture. At origin Japanese culture was formed as a mixture of Mongolian, Chinese and Korean culture, but at the beginning of the twentieth century Japan quickly adopted western habits. It began with the implementation of, mostly military, brass bands and led to a flourishing bubblegum pop culture in the sixties. On the “Far-east Freak-out” evening we won’t focus on traditional music, nor on commercial pop music, but on what has been happening in the Japanese rock and experimental underground since the seventies. Like almost everywhere in the world, at the end of the sixties Japan developed a new musical movement of young people who were heavily influenced by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Lots of one-hit wonders found their way to stages and record companies but every now and then an eccentric star was born and cherished. In spite of all those western influences, Japan stays true to its own peculiar characteristics. In the seventies western punks and hippies disliked each other, Japan saw it as an advantage to bring the two cultures together and turned this melting pot into music. At the end of the sixties politics in Japan got boiled up. Vietnam, the presence of the American military apparatus and general anti-governmental feelings led to a series of street protests and a whole bunch of protest singers. Two of the most interesting figures from those days are still active and both invited on the Pauze Festival: Kan Mikami and Kazuki Tomokawa.

KAN MIKAMI first emerged in the Japanese avant-garde and theatre. His very expressive folksongs, intense and controversial, became quite popular in times of protest. In the eighties things went down a bit for Mikami, until the leading Japanese label PSF picked him up again.

KAZUKI TOMOKAWA is a talented musician, writer, designer and bon vivant. He was born in the Northern countryside. His music is lyrical and full of symbolism. KEIJI HAINO also appeared in the sixties. He is probably the best know guitar player of Japan, still going after thirty years, collaborating with uncountable top artists in the experimental field. Haino makes stretched sound compositions that recall an imaginary and spiritual atmosphere. By now, Haino has cooperated to more than 100 albums.

OVERHANG PARTY is a more recent band, formed by guitar player and singer Rinhi Fukuoka, and one of the leading bands in the new Japanese psychedelic movement. The band plays heavy rock music, and has some underground superstars in their line-up. Pauze subsite

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