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Minyo Crusaders

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Japanese ten piece Minyo Crusaders rework historic Japanese folk songs (min'yō) with Latin, African, Caribbean and Asian rhythms.
Debut album “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, 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.”
“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’ ”.

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