Okinawa musicians against United States military base


This video is called Lucy Nagamine: Okinawa‘s folk music heritage.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Okinawa‘s musicians provide a focus for Japanese protest against US bases

With Barack Obama visiting Japan in April, resentment at plans for the US Futenma military base is finding a musical voice

Justin McCurry in Okinawa

Thursday 17 April 2014 15.50 BST

If an island of 1.4m people can be summed up in a sound, it is that of the sanshin. Where there are people on Okinawa, a Japanese island almost 1,000 miles south of Tokyo, the distinctive tones of the three-stringed instrument are never far away.

Music is deeply rooted in Okinawa’s tragic place in Japan‘s history and the conduit for its modern grievances against the glut of US military bases on the island. As Barack Obama prepares to visit Tokyo to meet Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, later in April, the anti-war message of sanshin players such as Shoukichi Kina and Misako Oshiro is back in vogue as the subtropical island confronts its biggest political challenge since it reverted from US to Japanese rule in the 1970s.

In his mid-60s, Kina cuts a controversial figure as spiritual leader of Okinawa’s activist musicians. Since the release of their first single Haisai Ojisan (Hey, Man!) in the 1970s, Kina and his band Champloose have done more than any other artists to secure Okinawan music against competition from mass-market Japanese J-pop and the more innocent musical motifs of the mainland folk genres minyo and enka.

“Our job as musicians should be to celebrate the good and do something about fixing the bad,” said Kina, who some have called Okinawa’s answer to Bob Marley. “That’s why I hate the military bases here, but I love Americans.”

Though it accounts for less than 1% of Japan’s total area, Okinawa is now home to about 75% of US bases in Japan and half its 50,000 troops. Military facilities take up a fifth of the island. Obama and Abe are expected to discuss the controversial relocation of Futenma, a sprawling US marine base, from a heavily populated part of Okinawa to an unspoiled location on the island’s northeast coast, as the allies attempt to lessen the island’s military burden. The move is opposed by most islanders, including the residents of Nago, whose city lies near the proposed site for the new base.

The spirit of resistance pioneered by Kina is to be found in the more eclectic music of Tatsumi Chibana, a quietly spoken 33-year-old university graduate and perhaps the most visible of Okinawa’s new generation of rebel artists, fusing traditional sounds with rock, reggae and hip-hop.

After a US military helicopter from the Futenma US marine base crashed into Okinawa International University in 2004, Chibana was moved to write his best-known song, Tami no Domino (People’s Domino), a collaboration between his band Duty Free Shopp and local rapper Kakumakushaka.

The incendiary lyrics reflect the feeling of many residents towards the ever-present threat to safety posed by the island’s 27,000 US troops and their hardware: “Surrounded by weapons in the land of disorder; what the hell can you tell me about peace in a place like this?”

Most of Chibana’s music eschews the sanshin and other traditional instruments, but his background looms large, he said. “I’m always aware of my Okinawan identity when I make music. OK, so I wasn’t brought up listening to folk songs, but the spirit of that old music is in mine. It doesn’t matter whether I play reggae, hip-hop or rock, it’s still Okinawan music.” …

Like Kina, Chibana occasionally sings in the Okinawan language Uchinaguchi – an artistic choice that renders his lyrics unintelligible to many Japanese, but which exemplifies the island’s historical and emotional sense of detachment from the mainland.

In the 16th century, where the sanshin’s origins lie, Okinawa was part of the Ryukyu kingdom, which, while politically independent, had tributary relations with Ming dynasty China. Forced annexation by Japan came in the late 1800s, followed in the 1940s by the carnage of the Pacific war.

Less than a century after it was forcibly made part of Japan, Okinawa was the scene of one of the second world war’s bloodiest battles. An estimated 240,000 Japanese and Americans died, including more than a quarter of Okinawa’s civilian population, after US forces invaded in June 1945. Japanese troops distributed grenades to civilians, urging them to commit suicide or risk being raped and murdered by American soldiers.

“There are lots of songs about how terribly the Okinawans were treated in the war,” said John Potter, the author of the only English-language book on Okinawan music and a prolific blogger on the subject.

Okinawa’s return to Japan in 1972 – almost three decades after the war – fuelled the local sense of “otherness” from the mainland.

Not all Okinawan musicians draw inspiration from the island’s bloody past, Potter said. “Many songs come back to what a fantastic place Okinawa is. Lots of artists sing about their culture and being island people, and their pride in being different.”

Poverty – Okinawa is Japan’s poorest prefecture – and the looming clouds of conflict sent many people in search of new lives overseas, creating a diaspora whose youngest members are making their presence felt on the island’s contemporary music scene.

Lucy Nagamine, a Peruvian-born singer whose grandparents left Okinawa shortly before the war, learned classical Ryukyu music from her grandmother and picked up her deceased grandfather’s sanshin at the age of 10.

Before settling in her ancestral homeland several years ago, Lucy often sang for Okinawan immigrants in Peru who were desperate to preserve the emotional ties with home. “Now I’m here in Okinawa, away from the country of my birth, I know how my grandparents and other immigrants felt,” she said in between songs at her regular venue, a restaurant in Naha.

“In those days immigrants had nothing to do except sing and play the sanshin. It was a central part of their existence, and why music and the Okinawan lifestyle are closely intertwined, even today.”

Less polemic are Nenes, a group of four whose lineup has gone through several reincarnations since they were formed by the legendary artist and producer Sadao China in 1990. Nenes perform classic Okinawan songs for groups of tourists from the mainland.

One rare departure from their otherwise “safe” repertoire is their stirring version of Keisuke Kuwata’s Heiwa no Kyuka, which simmers with resentment over Okinawa’s bloody wartime sacrifice. “Who decided this country was at peace,” the song asks, “Even before the people’s tears have dried?”

“Now that we’re confronting the base issue again, this is a good time to sing about peace,” said 24-year-old Mayuko Higa. “It’s important that the people who come to see us perform know why it’s an important subject here.”

Nenes’ tourist-friendly melodies can seem a world away from Kina’s ceaseless quest for social and political change, an artist who implores the world’s armies to swap their weapons for musical instruments. His decade-old feud with NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster, proves that Japan’s mainstream media and firebrand politics can be uncomfortable bedfellows.

“They demanded that I drop any references to peace from my performance,” Kina said, his arms in motion again as he recalls his incredulity. “I refused, of course, and they haven’t invited me back since. The message for Okinawan musicians has always been that if you want to get on in this industry, then keep your mouth shut. But I’ll say what I like.”

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Canadian punk rockers D.O.A. tour Australia


This is a music video of the D.O.A. song Police Brutality.

By Chris Peterson in Australia:

Canadian punk veterans DOA hit Australia one last time

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Veteran Canadian punk band DOA have set sail for Australia for one final tour this month. Formed in 1978, Henry Rollins described the band as “live they were monumental, change your life, blow away time … They came to town and we were like WOW!”

DOA’s slogan has been “Talk minus Action equals Zero” and the band has been active on many issues, including anti-racism, anti-globalisation, freedom of speech, and the environment.

In 2003, founding member Joe “Shithead” Keithley released his autobiography, I, Shithead: A Life in Punk.

The tour starts on April 24, the day before ANZAC Day when Australia commemorates invading another nation. Much of DOA’s work is about ending war and militarism. Keithley told Green Left Weekly: “It’s always important for artists to stand up against violence. I would rather talk to somebody for an endless amount up time than start up some sort of violent action.”

DOA have been touring for more than 35 years and survived a number of pretty nasty US governments, such as Ronald Reagan and two Bushs. Keithley says the secret is “a lot of gaffer tape and beer!”

“But seriously,” he added, “it’s been a spirit of camaraderie and purpose and that purpose is trying to change the world into a better place. TALK minus ACTION equals ZERO.”

More recently, Keithley has run for office: “My mandate is to try and get people to have a lot more to say in our political system. That and education for all — education should be a right not a privilege.”

DOA has been very influential and often helped other bands to get a start, especially via their record company, Sudden Death Records.

Keithley offers this advice to musicians on swimming against the stream: “It’s real basic. Stick to your guns, play what you want to play, don’t worry about what is perceived as being popular. If you stay together long enough and you’re any good, people will eventually figure it out!”

Tour dates:
– Thursday April 24th
The Evelyn, Fitzroy
– Friday April 25th
The Basement, Belconnen (Canberra)
– Saturday April 26th
Hermann’s Bar, Sydney
– Sunday April 27th
Prince of Wales, Brisbane

Visit thedrunkpromoter.com for further information.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer disgusted about CIA torture abuse of his music


This video from the USA is called Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer — I’m Disgusted The CIA Used Our Music … TO TORTURE A MAN!

From TMZ in the USA:

Red Hot Chili Peppers Drummer — I’m Disgusted the CIA Allegedly Used Our Music … TO TORTURE A MAN!

4/12/2014 2:05 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith almost threw up in a Malibu parking lot Saturday … after learning the CIA allegedly used his band’s music during a suspected terrorist interrogation.

Chad was leaving Coogies when our photog asked for his opinion on a recent news report saying RHCP music was used during a CIA interrogation in 2002.

According to Al Jazeera … the report says Abu Zubaydah was shackled by his wrists to the ceiling of a secret prison site and forced to listen to one of their songs on a loop — among other torture methods. No word on which song.

The 52-year old rocker is pissed at the feds — and he’s not shy about it.

Someone’s gonna get audited this year.

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Diocese knew already for months on Bishop Gijsen’s child abuse


This music video is a song against Bishop Gijsen written in 1979, as performed in 1981, by Dutch rock band Disease.

Translated from site nu.nl in the Netherlands:

The diocese of Roermond knew already on February 11 this year that former Bishop Jo Gijsen had abused children when he was chaplain in South Limburg. The diocese covered up this information all the time.

More about this here.

Dutch government condemns diocese on this: here.

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French Marine Le Pen can be legally called a fascist


This video says about itself:

Madonna Defends Use of Swastika on Marine Le Pen‘s Forehead: Front National Party Threatens Suit

27 July 2012

American pop singer Madonna is defending her use of an image depicting French far-right politician Marine Le Pen with a swastika superimposed on her forehead after Le Pen’s party threatened legal action. Madonna said the image was meant to highlight intolerance toward immigrants and religious minorities and she refused to remove it from a video played during her live performances.

A music video, no longer on YouTube, used to say about itself:

Madonna performed her song ‘Nobody Knows Me‘ in front of a giant screen showing Marine Le Pen with a swastika on her forehead.

Skip to 1:32 in the footage below to see Marine Le Pen in Madonna’s show.

Marine Le Pen then threatened to sue Madonna for this.

The truth evidently hurts for racist French politician Marine le Pen; who inherited her Front National party leadership from her holocaust-denying father Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Though that other video is gone, this one is still on YouTube.

It is called Madonna Stade de France (Nobody Knows Me Interlude). After 56 seconds, the video shows Marine Le Pen with swastika, leading to much sound from the audience.

From Radio France International:

Thursday 10 April 2014

Front National‘s Le Pen can be called fascist, court rules

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has failed in a bid to prevent political opponents called her a “fascist”. The Front National (FN) leader sued hard-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon for use of abusive language over remarks he made during the 2012 presidential campaign in which both were candidates.

“Why do you think that the French people would be the only people to want a fascist as leader?” was Mélenchon’s response to an opinion poll putting Le Pen in the lead in the first round of the presidential race.

The Paris court on Thursday threw out Le Pen’s case, ruling that this was fair comment in political debate.

“If the term ‘fascist’ can have insulting connotations when used outside of any political context or if accompanied by other demeaning terms, it has, on the other hand, no insulting character when employed between political opponents on a political subject,” it declared.

Mélenchon could “legitimately make his opinion known … without transgressing the limits permitted to freedom of expression on the question”, its judgement said.

“The whole FN policy of trying to silence journalists and political opponents … has failed,” commented Mélenchon’s lawyer, Raquel Garrido. “Madame Le Pen has today been condemned to put up with being called a fascist.” …

Le Pen, who is trying to clean up her party’s image, has threatened to sue anyone calling her “extreme”.

Last week she lost another legal battle with Mélenchon when she was fined 10,000 euros because her party distributed a fake leaflet in his name during a by-election in northern France.

Ms Le Pen herself had called Islam ‘green fascism’ and anti-National Front bankers ‘gold fascists’.

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Austrian racism scandal in Haider’s old party


This music video from Britain says about itself:

April 28, 2012

This is the brand new 7″ record by ATTILA THE STOCKBROKER´S BARNSTORMER.

The A-side gives us the studio version of the live classic “Haider Die!“. A great cover of Simon & Garfunkel´s classic “The Boxer”. The lyrics are about Austrian right-wing politician Joerg Haider who died in an accident. …remember´: “Nazis Shouldn´t Drive” (M.D.C.)

The extreme right FPÖ party used to be the party of Jörg Haider in Austria. Now that Haider is dead after his drunk driving, they have other leaders.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands today:

Andreas Mölzer this Tuesday has retired as the leader of the far-right Austrian FPÖ party in the European elections on 25 May. Mölzer recently said that the policies of Nazi Germany were liberal, compared to the overregulation of the European Union.

He also thought that the European Union threatens to become “a collection of Negroes“, lacking the work ethic of Germans and Austrians.

PVV

The FPÖ is one of the parties that the Freedom Party of Geert Wilders wants to cooperate with in the European Parliament. Mölzer was one of the two leading candidates of the party.

Raven black

In an article in a magazine Mölzer (61) complained that many Austrians look like the “raven black” footballer David Alaba of the national team. “You have to go to a nursing home to still meet ‘real Austrians’.”

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