Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dvorak's Spaceport Cantina

dvorak's spaceport cantina
volume 2 number 10

here in the States it's mostly frowned upon for an "artist" to appear in a commercial. it's just the opposite in Japan. it's considered "honorable" to be a spokesperson and attracts people like Robert De Niro or Angelina Jolie, actors who would never be seen in an american tv spot.

the japanese company Daikin makes a dizzying array of products from air conditioners to parts for NASA. naturally I was surprised and honored when they approached me to "star" in a japanese television commercial. the shoot took one whole day to film and included a menagerie of animals. as each animal would appear in a scene with me I would make an appropriate animal sound on guitar. seagulls fly over, I make the sound of seagulls, an elephant walks by, I trumpet. there was no product in any of the shots and I never said a word. at the end of the tv spot there was a simple graphic which said "adrian belew...always unique". then the company's logo. very tasteful, in my opinion.

that first commercial for Daikin turned into something of a hit (in tv commercial terms). for once I had done something popular! so they asked me to do another. the idea for the second spot was adrian as one man orchestra, something I felt very comfortable with. the Daikin representatives asked me to do a version of Dvorak's New World Symphony in which the sounds of an orchestra would be played entirely on guitar. then they filmed me in multiple exposures playing all the parts of the orchestra (even the tympani) and conducting myself.

the New World Symphony comprises the first minute of this download, followed by a quick musical sketch of Mr. Dvorak's real meal ticket: bandleader at the Spaceport Cantina.

all instruments: adrian
engineer: rich denhart

recorded at home, dates unknown


  1. For anyone wanting to see these, someone has put them up on YouTube:

    Nice work, Adrian :-).

  2. chris, thanks for those – was hoping they'd be there.

    I follow jazz and have been amazed over the years at how American artists are treated with such respect in Japan. And Europe too. A lot of jazz musicians move there because of that appreciation for artists. Our culture worships Britney-Spears-like-performers while our true artists slip away to cultures that respect the craft o' creativity.

  3. We are having some issues this morning with the download of Dvorak's Spaceport Cantina. If you are unable to download your purchase, please send an email to along with your Paypal receipt and we will send it to you.

    Sorry for the inconvenience.


  4. chris:
    just for clarification, those are the short 15-second versions. the ones with no voice-over and the "adrian belew...always unique" graphic are the full minute-long versions.

  5. Wow, so I can get awesome sushi AND respect for my music? I would even be average height over there! What am I waiting for?

  6. Adrian,
    I love that video, what immediatlely comes to mind are the endless possibilities and importance of human genome research :) Belew squared, very cool!

  7. oops, my bad for the typo, "immediately"