Who are the Minyo Crusaders?

When listening to Minyo Crusaders, is it hard to identify the group’s origin, a musical UFO — a genre of his own, very downbeat focused.

“Minyo” are traditional Japanese folk songs, localized bits of pastoral verse and melody, often unique to their hometown or district. Minyo have mostly disappeared from everyday consciousness in 21st century Japan, but on Echoes of Japan, the 2019 album from Minyo Crusaders, they’re given a boisterous afterlife, transformed by arrangements that draw heavily on dub, cumbia, and Afrobeat. Since then, the Tokyo group Minyo Crusaders are pursuing their primary mission: Preservation of the Japanese musical heritage.

“Minyo used to be music for the common people; popular music, but it doesn’t work like that anymore. It’s regarded as a forgotten, out-of-date music. By comparison, reggae, cumbia, and ska are very well accepted. By combining the two, I believe traditional Japanese song minyo could be revived, bringing back its own charm as a music for the people.” — Katsumi Tanaka, Crusaders guitarist and co-founder

The feel and groove is totally different. We wonder, where is such eclectic mix coming from?

Through an interview made in 2019, the public discovers that each individual preferences combined create the group’s unique compositions:

  • Meg, Minyo Crusaders’ vocalist loves latin music, Eddie Palmieri who recorded some of his albumsin Prison
  • Shoji Ishiguro, Minyo Crusaders’ Bass player has been influended by the legendary Amerian (electric!) bassist Jaco Pastorius
  • Mutsumi Kobayashi, Minyo Crusaders’ synth percussion player has always been a great fan of Colombian Cumbia, which is influencing nowadays’ songs
  • Koichiro Osawa, Minyo Crusaders’ sax player, has a taste for classic music. His favourite artists are Bach, Beethoven, Schumaan and Ravel
  • Kazuki Hashimoto, Minyo Crusaders’ trumpet player, confessed that Clifford Brown made his love for jazz trumpet.
  • Sonoo Ide, Minyo Crusaders’ timbales player swears by Cal Tjader
  • Irochi, Minyo Crusaders’ Congo player was hooked since a young age by Cuban rumba thanks to Los munequitoes De Matanzas
  • Moe, Minyo Crusaders’ keyboard player got her influence from another continent — Adbullah Ibrahim, the excellent South African pianist
  • Katsumi Tanaka, Minyo Crusaders’ guitarist is attached to the Japanese 50s, 60s and 70’s Japanese folks songs, movement led by Isao Hayashi, military music and pop singer composer

A promising band, to certainly keep under your musical radar.

Stay head in the cloud. ☁️

For more musical discoveries, follow us on YouTube at The Cloud Nine

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