Japanese collective who convene a fascinating blend of traditional Japanese folk elements, and Afrobeat, Reggae and Latin rhythms to formulate a genuinely original brew. Operating within the tradition of Min'yo folk and re-working standards, their pilfering and revamping of global musics, (though these will sound like no take on these genres that you've heard before), creates a quite startling hybrid which makes their recently released debut Echoes of Japan a genuine delight.
Labelling each track according to the musical tradition it's sourced from; Afro, Reggae, Ethiopian, Boogaloo and so on, is a helpful guide for the listener. The genuinely quirky and explorative vocals which provide the icing on their particular cake ensures there's not a dull moment throughout the course of its ten tracks.
An obvious draw for the festival circuit, their lyrics cover an eclectic range of subject matters, such as the return of spiritual ancestors, Japan's smallest bird and a wife's love of her husband's pockmarked face and the sheer oddness but bloody minded momentum of the delivery means that those without mastery of the Japanese tongue won't be disadvantaged in terms of savouring the end product for a moment.
The starting concept is a genius move in itself and it's a sheer delight to see Minyo Crusaders execute their plan with such panache. One of the more original Christmas gifts on offer this year to satisfy the completist relative, Echoes of Japan is one of the most audacious and purely enjoyable records you're likely to hear this year,