Minyo Crusaders “ECHOES OF JAPAN”
P-VINE RECORDS (JP) CD, 2LP, digital
MAIS UM (UK) CD, 2LP, limited edition ‘kimono blue’ 2LP, digital
TRACKLIST (Title / Style / Source)
1. Kushimoto Bushi (Cumbia) Wakayama prefecture.
2. Hohai Bushi (Afro) Aomori prefecture.
3. Otemoyan (Reggae) Southern Kumamoto prefecture.
4. Mamurogawa Ondo (Beguine) Yamagata prefecture.
5. Yasugi Bushi (Bolero) Shimane prefecture.
6. Akita Nikata Bushi (Ethiopian Groove) Northern Akita prefecture
7. Toichin Bushi (Afro·funk) Toyama prefecture.
8. Tanko Bushi (Boogaloo) Fukuoka prefecture.
9. Aizu Bandaisan (Latin) Fukushima prefecture.
10. Sumo Jinku (Acapella)
On “Echoes of Japan” Minyo Crusader's recreate the fusion of Japanese folk songs and Latin rhythms that their great predecessors the Tokyo Cuban Boys and Noche Kubana achieved in the late 40s/early 50s.
Originally sung by fishermen (Kushimoto Bushi; Mamurogawa Ondo), coal miners (Tanko Bushi) and sumo wrestlers (Sumo Jinku), these songs deal with topics such as the returning spirits of ancestors (Hohai Bushi), Japan’s smallest bird (Toichin Bushi) and a bride’s undying love for her husband’s pockmarked face (Otemoyan), evoking nostalgia for a forgotten Japan. Katsumi Tanaka says: “As a traditional performing art, min'yō is considered highbrow, yet these are mainly songs for working, dancing or drinking - we want to return them to their literal meaning as ‘songs of the people’ ”.
Having been sent a pre-release copy of the album Ry Cooder tweeted his love for the album and on release in Japan in 2017, and then subsequently worldwide in 2019, critical acclaim came thick and fast.
The album features special guest Kenjiro Ando from Cassette Conros and was mixed by Naoyuki Uchida (LITTLE TEMPO, OKI DUB AINU BAND). Yutaka Kimura (Central67) designed the sleeve.
The Times “Minyo Crusaders sound like nothing else on your Spotify playlist"
The Guardian: “Delightful album of folk songs reimagined from Afrobeat to reggae”
Bandcamp “Minyo Crusaders armour Japanese folk music for the post-modern age”
Gilles Peterson: “Fascinating… love this. Thoroughly recommended”
Jazzwise “A confident mastery of all the genres they cover”
Songlines - Top of the World