Minyo Crusaders - Echoes Of Japan (Repress)
Minyo Crusaders rework historic Japanese folk songs (min'yō) with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms for their debut album “Echoes of Japan”. Releases from Ryuichi Sakamoto, HaruomiHosono and Midori Takada have re-ignited global interest in Japanese music and “Echoes of Japan” marks the arrival of a big band like no other.
'For Japanese people, min'yō is both the closest, and most distant, folk music' explains band-leader Katsumi Tanaka: 'We may not feel it in our daily, urban lives, yet the melodies, the style of singing and the rhythm of the taiko drums are engrained in our DNA'. Initially indifferent to min'yō, a tragic event in recent Japanese history set Tanaka on his current path: 'Following the Tohoku earthquake of 2011, I reflected on my life, work and identity. A fan of world music, I began searching for Japanese roots music I could identify with. Discovering mid-late 20th century acts HibariMisora, Chiemi Eri and the Tokyo Cuban Boys, I was captivated by their eccentric arrangements and how they mixed min'yō with Latin and jazz.'
Originally sung by fishermen (KushimotoBushi; Mamurogawa Ondo), coal miners (TankoBushi) and sumo wrestlers (Sumo Jinku), these songs deal with topics such as the returning spirits of ancestors (HohaiBushi), Japan’s smallest bird (ToichinBushi) and a bride’s love for her husband’s pockmarked face (Otemoyan).
Minyo Crusaders are one of the most hyped acts on the Tokyo music scene that went national in 2018 through festivals such as Fuji Rock. The band features veterans of the Tokyo roots music scene such as bassist DADDY U (Ska Flames), keyboardist Moe (Kidlat), sax player Koichiro Osawa (Matt Sounds/ J.J. Session), Yamauchi Stephan (J.J. Session), percussionist Mutsumi Kobayashi (Banda de la Mumbia), conga player Irochi (Cubatumb) and vocalist Meg (DJ collective Tokyo Sabroso).
The single 'Netsanet' (feat. Mulatu Astatke) is a deep exploration of Mulatu's trademark Ethio-jazz, while Crushing Lactic, composed by Tom Rogerson (fresh from a recent collaboration with Brian Eno) has a frenzied flow, with big horns and driving rhythm section.
Elsewhere, Pete Wareham (stalwart of the London jazz revival) lends his free-flowing sax to What’s Gone Before, leading us into a powerful communion of jazz and brass as Mulatu Astatke’s Derashe takes the listener down a vibrating rhythmic path while accompanied by blasts of horns and Mulatu’s trademark vibraphone. Two spoken word compositions ('Why Yellow' and 'Climbing Up My Own Life Until I Die') featuring York-born writer and comedian Rob Auton lend an introspective voice to 'Collaborations: Volume One'.
1. KushimotoBushi (Cumbia)
2. HohaiBushi (Afro)
3. Otemoyan (Reggae)
4. Mamurogawa Ondo (Beguine)
5. YasugiBushi (Bolero)
C1. Akita NikataBushi (Ethiopian Groove)
C2. ToichinBushi (Afro•funk)
D1. TankoBushi (Boogaloo)
D2. Aizu Bandaisan (Latin)
D3. Sumo Jinku
Artist: Minyo Crusaders
Label: Mais Um
Genre: Latin, African & World
Format: Vinyl LP
Cat Number: MAIS036LP
Released: 19th July 2019