We are Minyo Crusaders!
We sing historic Japanese folk songs (min'yō) with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms.
Originally sung hundreds of years ago by working-class Japanese people such as fishermen, coal miners and sumo wrestlers[HA1] , these min'yō songs are now forgotten in Japan – yet we want to make them popular again.
Please enjoy our website!
“Minyo Crusaders played with such verve and good cheer that most of the Jazz Café was dancing by the first song… a concert quite like any other” ★★★★ The Times
“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 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.” Lead singer Freddie fell for min'yō after hearing a song from his hometown on a TV competition whilst in a restaurant. It was a revelation – until then he had been an aspiring jazz singer yet was uncomfortable singing in English. The restaurateur told him a min'yō teacher was his neighbour and the two connected. Tanaka and Freddie formed Minyo Crusaders in 2011 in Fussa, a city where the US military Yokota Air Base is located in western Tokyo.
Recruiting other local musicians versed in Afro and Latin rhythms they began hosting jam sessions in the “Banana House”, a building that was previously part of the US military air base and that used to house US soldiers. Following various member changes the band recorded their debut album for P-Vine records in 2016. Released in 2017 it received huge acclaim in Japan and was picked up for an international release by Mais Um in 2019. A debut European tour followed that autumn 2019 that included festivals Trans Musicales, Le Guess Who, Oslo World Music and Überjazz, with shows following at WOMADelaide and WOMAD New Zealand in 2020.
MINYO CUMBIERO 「FROM TOKYO TO BOGOTA」
2020 P-VINE RECORDS (JP)
2020 MAIS UM (UK)
ECHOES OF JAPAN
2017 P-VINE RECORDS (JP)
2019 MAIS UM DISCOS (UK)
TANKO BUSHI + CLAP! CLAP! REMIX
2018 P-VINE RECORDS (JP)
IT DON'T MINYO A THING (IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT BU-SHI)
2016 DEMO CD
2015 EAT RECORDS (JP)
HONEN BUSHI (CHITOSE HAJIME FEATURING MINYO CRUSADERS) + DORIAN CONCEPT REMIX
2019 AUGUSTA RECORDS/UNIVERSAL MUSIC
2020 NIPPON COLUMBIA (JP)
NOVA AUTOUR DU MONDE
2019 NOVA RECORDS (FR)
"RELAXIN' WITH JAPANESE LOVERS VOLUME 7”
2018 SMAR (JP)