Damo Suzuki (Of CAN 1970-1973)

Best known for his work with the pioneering German group Can, Damo Suzuki is a vocalist and improvisational musician whose creative wanderlust has taken him around the world, performing with a dizzying variety of collaborators. Suzuki had little experience as a musical performer before joining Can in 1970, but his bold, theatrical style and abstract lyrical sensibility put its stamp on three of the group's most memorable albums (1971's Tago Mago, 1972's Ege Bamyasi, and 1973's Future Days) before he left the group in 1973. After a decade away from music, Suzuki returned in 1983, shunning the recording studio in favor of improvised live performances, a number of which have been recorded and released, among them 2000's Seattle, 2002's P.R.O.M.I.S.E., and 2007's The Fire of Heaven at the End of the Universe. Working with established groups as well as "sound carriers" he often has never met before walking on-stage, Suzuki's music in the 21st century has found him relentlessly exploring the boundaries of spontaneous creativity.

Kenji "Damo" Suzuki was born in Kobe, Japan on January 16, 1950. Growing up, Suzuki's sister encouraged him to play music, giving him his first instrument, a flute, when he was eight years old. Suzuki developed a keen interest in classical music as a child, and in his teens he discovered American R&B music and the popular British acts of the day, especially the Kinks (he briefly ran a Kinks fan club). When he was 17, Suzuki left Japan to explore the world, living in a Swedish commune for a while (where he formed a short-lived folk music duo) before making his way through Denmark, France, England, and Ireland. By 1970, Suzuki had landed in Germany and was cast in a Munich production of the countercultural musical Hair. During his travels, Suzuki had occasionally made money by busking in the streets, and feeling hemmed in by the rigors of performing the same songs each night, he took to performing in the streets in his free time. One of his improvised street performances was seen by Holger Czukay and Jaki Liebezeit, the bassist and drummer with the German progressive band Can. Can's vocalist, Malcolm Mooney, had recently left the band, and they were wondering how to fill his place for a gig that evening. Czukay invited Suzuki to perfork, his umbrella name for improvisational performances with musicians from all over the world. For his Network shows, promoters for each appearance would provide Suzuki with a band, and they would generate spontaneous music with Suzuki on vocals (the vocalist describes his collaborators as "sound carriers"). Suzuki would release more than a dozen live albums under the Network rubric, and he's also issued collaborations with existing groups and soloists, including Cul de Sac (2004's Abhayamudra), Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (2007's Please Heat This Eventually), the Holy Soul (2010's Dead Man Has No 2nd Chance), Mugstar (2015's Start from Zero), and Jelly Planet

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