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Paul Fisher

For Paul Fisher's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Haruomi Hosono: 'I never tried to be a pioneer'

Music Aug 23, 2018

Haruomi Hosono: 'I never tried to be a pioneer'

Haruomi Hosono is widely regarded as one of the most important figures of Japanese popular music over the past 50 years. The grandson of the only Japanese passenger and survivor aboard the Titanic, he was born in Tokyo in 1947. From the end of the ...

Music / CD Reviews Nov 16, 2007

Hirokazu Matsuda "Sanshin Zanmai"

Nowhere in Japan upholds its musical traditions as proudly as Okinawa. There, to make your name as a musician on a small island where there are hundreds of others, you have to be something special. "Sanshin Zanmai" by the 60-year-old Hirokazu Matsuda, his first ...

Rebel yell from the desert

Music Sep 28, 2007

Rebel yell from the desert

Saharan bluesmen Tinariwen traded guns for guitars, then set about gaining an army of famous fans Tinariwen are arguably the hottest act in world music right now. A group of nomadic Tuaregs from the southern Sahara desert in Mali who play a pulsating brand ...

Music / CD Reviews Jul 13, 2007

Tsuru to Kame "Shakkitose"

"Shakkitose" is the third album from Tsuru to Kame, a duo made up of female singer Shigeri Kitsu and shamisen player and singer Katsuaki Sawada. While minyo (folk songs) are dying out in communities, Sawada and Kitsu have been busily learning the songs from ...

Heeding the call of island music

Music Jun 22, 2007

Heeding the call of island music

What is it with Western artists and Okinawan music? Michael Nyman, George Winston, Henry Kaiser, Ry Cooder and Bob Brozman are just some of those who have become entranced with the vibrant sounds emanating from Japan's deep south and have played or recorded with ...


Music / Concert Previews Dec 15, 2006


In 1969, the young, idealistic communist Tagayasu Den formed a commune of taiko drummers on Sado Island off the coast of Niigata Prefecture called Ondekoza. Den became an increasingly dictatorial figure, obsessed with fitness and drumming. "Everyday, just running," recalls original member Eitetsu Hayashi ...

Street spirits plug in and out

Music Sep 29, 2006

Street spirits plug in and out

In Japan these days, music and politics don't generally sit well together. On the face of it, a group who seem to have bucked the system is Osaka's Soul Flower Union, who released a new best of album on Sept. 20 and are now ...

Music | MUSIC NOMAD Aug 12, 2001

Take time to stop and hear the music

As your Music Nomad is wandering back to the U.K., this will be my last column. Thanks for taking the trouble to read it over the years; hopefully some of you have enjoyed seeing the concerts recommended. Taraf de Haidouks (top), Esma (middle) and Kocani ...

Music | MUSIC NOMAD Jul 8, 2001

Where Nas is coming from

One of the most unlikely roots music success stories of recent years has been Olu Dara's 1998 album, "In the World: From Natchez to New York." Even more surprising than the spontaneous ease with which he combined blues, folk, Afro and Caribbean styles, or ...