Cicala Mvta (pronounced shikala moota) are one of Japan's most exciting and original groups. Like other innovative musicians, their music is hard to define; "punk chindon jazz", "world and noise band to clarinet in a chindon group. Colorful chindon groups used to be a common sight in Japan, marching in the streets noisily banging a chindon drum, while saxophones or clarinets would pick out the melody to the hits of the day. Ohkuma tramped the streets of Tokyo for 7 years playing clarinet as part of a spluttering tradition, until the late 80s when together with the group Compostella he started to revive chindon music by mixing it with other elements. While Japan is the only eastern country to have so readily absorbed western music, street performances of wind and percussion instruments can be found all over the world. As an "unmilitarized" street music, chindon is related to Jewish Klezmer music, New Orleans brass bands and wind and percussion ensembles from China and south east Asia. Ohkuma is as keen to embrace these influences in the music of Cicala Mvta. "In my opinion, old jazz , klezmer or wedding brass band traditions, from India to the Balkans, are all similar to chindon as an early modern mixture music . These are all clarinet musics, so it's very natural for me to play these types together" he says.
Ohkuma's other disparate influences help give Cicala Mvta their own distinctive sound. These he cites as progressive rock, punk, avant-garde jazz, early modern music (such as Bartok) and folk. Only occasionally featuring the chindon drum, Ohkuma's perky clarinet is ably abetted by an unusual line-up of musicians, each bringing with them a sense of individuality to supplement Ohkuma's clarinet and saxophone, in what is a totally original line-up; fluid, distorted electric guitar, rip-roaring, booming tuba, squeaking, screeching cello, frantic, discordant fiddle, and tinny, shuffling drums. "Deko Boko" is Cicala Mvta's second album and a progression on their self titled first CD. The mixtures are more radical than ever, and the tunes self penned by Ohkuma and arranged by the group. Both traditional chindon and the retro-futuristic sound of Cicala Mvta are an entirely natural combination of the old and new, the east with the west.
Cicala Mvta is one of only a few Japanese groups, to have created a 'buzz' in other countries. Their first overseas gig in 2000 was supporting Blur in London, afterwhich they toured for 6 weeks, playing to enthusiastic audiences at festivals throughout Europe. Despite being instrumental, their music is not without a message. The band's name, Italian for a 'mute cicada', derives from the epitaph written on the gravestone of Soeda Azembo (1872 -1944) the greatest street singer and songwriter of popular music in Japan before the 1920s. "His songs were banned and he was repeatedly thrown into prison. They tried to break his spirit and make him really mute" explains Ohkuma. Cicala Mvta and chindon music too, is not about to go quietly.
01. Tokyo Jinta
02. Kyu na saka
03. The lowest saddle
04. A weekend of a clown
05. The blue flower kopanitza
06. Sukiniatte gomen nassai
07. Don cholecha variation
08. Bessarabian hora
09. Bulgaria Rhytm
10. Albert Ayler Medley
11. Jerry roll strange motion
12. Motto kyu na saka
OHKUMA Wataru : clarinet,bass clarinet, accordion, timpani,glockenspiel,chorus
OHTA Keisuke: violin, singing(6),chorus
SAKURAI Yoshiki: guitar,Irish bouzouki, lap steel guitar, banjo, reverb tank,chorus
SAKAMOTO Hiromichi: cello,musical saw,chorus
SEKIJIMA Takero: tuba,recorder,chorus
KAMIMURA Shoko:drum,big bass drum(1), chorus
KAWAGUCHI Yoshiyuki: alto,soprano,bariton sax, chorus
Samm BENNETT: drum(3) , percussion, toys,turn table