Minyo Crusaders rework historic Japanese folk songs (min'yō) with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms on their debut album “Echoes of Japan”.
Recent releases from Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Midori Takada have re-ignited global interest in Japanese music and with Ry Cooder, Mario Galeano (Ondatrópica/Frente Cumbeiro) and Clap! Clap! already fans of the ten-piece, “Echoes of Japan” marks the arrival of a big band like no other, where distinctive min'yō vocals glide over grooves that join the dots between cumbia, Ethiopian jazz, Thai pop, Afro funk and reggae.
“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, like many Japanese, 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 Hibari Misora, Chiemi Eri and the Tokyo Cuban Boys, I was captivated by their eccentric arrangements and how they mixed min'yō with Latin and jazz.” Freddie fell for min'yō after hearing a song from his hometown on a TV competition whilst in a restaurant. It was a revelation - up till then he had been an aspiring jazz singer yet was uncomfortable singing in a foreign language. The restaurateur told him a min'yō teacher was his neighbour, and the rest is history.
- Kushimoto Bushi (Cumbia)
- Hohai Bushi (Afro)
- Otemoyan (Reggae)
- Mamurogawa Ondo (Beguine)
- Yasugi Bushi (Bolero)
- Akita Nikata Bushi (Ethiopian Groove)
- Toichin Bushi (Afro·funk)
- Tanko Bushi (Boogaloo)
- Aizu Bandaisan (Latin)
- Sumo Jinku (A capella)