Melody Maker | Info Freako | 4 March 1995
GIVE PEACE A CHANT
I've just noticed the bizarre words "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" etched into the surplus vinyl around the centre of my copy of Sandie Shaw's "Hello Angel" LP. What on earth does this mean?
Most of the messages artists scratch into the run-out of their records, a process carried out when a disc is cut, are cryptic beyond all hope of comprehension. Many turn out to be simply silly in-jokes. But with Sandie Shaw's "Hello Angel" LP (Rough Trade), the words are more serious.
"Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" is the core chant of the Nichiren Daishonin school of Buddhism, of which Shaw has been a member for 16 years. Her 1983 "Choose Life" on Palace Records consists entirely of songs inspired by her faith.
Nichiren Daishonin Buddhism is practiced by some 20 million people around the globe and Sandie Shaw is by no means the only singer who is familiar with "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo". Others who chant or who have chanted at some point in the past include Tina Turner, Seal, Stevie Wonder, Boy George and Herbie Hancock.
Nichiren Daishonin followers elsewhere in the entertainment business range from "Dallas" actor Peter Duffy and Peter Dean from "Eastenders", to Levis advert star Nick Kamen and Italian soccer hero Roberto Baggio.