Ching Dong, The Return of Japanese Street Music
Chindon is one of the stranger musical combinations in the world. It comes from both the street music and avant garde jazz scenes in Japan, defying the conformity of tradition and yet reveling in the connections to it. This brass/woodwinds based music merges jazz, klezmer, brass band, Japanese folk (and anything else it can get its hands on), into a wonderfully twisted and always surprising hybrid, unique unto itself. Cicala Mvta includes tuba, drum, percussion, cello, fiddle and electric guitar players, led by clarinetist/composer Wataru Ohkama. Ohkama was a member of the seminal Masami Shinoda bands, who took the chindon off the streets and into the edgy world of hard jazz and rock. This band follows that same tradition, with a vengeance. The melodies move from sublime Japanese folk tunes to insanely outside rock fusions, and it never lets up. They can dig into an original tune that comes out as eastern European klezmer one second, a Turkish time signature the next, and then spirals out of control as Ohkama's clarinet spins melodies from outer space. A bluesy slide guitar introduces a Brecht song that still somehow sounds very Japanese. Kabuki theater becomes Jewish jazz. Cicala Mvta carries on the great legacy of the late Shinoda and the band Compostela, spawning a new music that is full of twists and turns, and still has plenty of room to grow. - CF
Sound sample: "Ohfuku Jinta" by Wataru Ohkama
© 1998 Tropical Music GNBH, Germany. Used by express permission of the publisher.
See also: Japan