Cicala-Mvta is One of Japanese Most Exciting and Original Groups. Both Traditional Chindon and the Retro-futuristic Sound of Cicala-Mvta is an Entirely Natural Combination of the Old and New, the East with the West.
Cicala Mvta is a group described by some UK music critics as the most impressive exponents of contemporary Japanese grass roots music. The music presents old-fashioned and brass band music. Featuring chindon, a kind of Japanese drum, saxophones, clarinets and tubas, Cicala Mvta's music is a kind of street music originally played at funerals or the openings of local shops. But the band blends the cheesy music with social critique, thus creating a sarcastic outlook, in both its musical style and in its stage performance.
Before TV commercials, drum and woodwind bands would march through the streets of Japan carrying banners advertising products or stores. Bandleader WATARU OKHUMA modelled his band after these Chindon groups and named it CICALA-MVTA .(Pronounced Shi-ka-la Moo-ta, it means Mute cicada after the epitaph of a great Japanese street singer songwriter) All in all, it is a wild ride, as Cicala Mvta views klezmer, Balkan, Turkish, early jazz and free jazz music through their Japanese street band lens, which has something to do with topology and physics and their bent view of musical reality.
"Sounds close to the ground. Cicala-Mvta's music sometimes sounds like that. The band starts to play slowly and begins to stride on the ground powerfully. Sometimes they lash about the ground, and and run fast forward. They are not an underground group. Yet, they don't ascend nor float. They just go forward close to the ground.
A question is asked whether music is something to progress. Listening to Cicala-Mvta, I can believe that there lies much ground to go forward. They go forward on the surface of the globe, a sphere. It may not be progress. Terms such as experiment and evolution do not fit Cicala-Mvta. Their ceaseless march has a texture that has a much more hard-core nature.
Ten years ago, Wataru Okuma, the clarinet player, initiated this group. The Ghost Circus published in 2004 is their third album. It seems that by now they have become a one solid mass. They consist of very idiosyncratic players, and they make up a fairly unique instrumental ensemble. Yet, they move forward as a mass. As though they were a three-piece hard-core punk band.
With circus and street band music as their signature, Cicala-Mvta tries amalgamation of various music on the globe, and their music is almost impossible to analyze. The diverse musical elements each musician has absorbed physically in their bodies merge in an instant, and a spark of unique and allomorph music appears. As the album title shows, any academic scrutiny would be absurd-a sonic circus! It supercedes the speed of our thinking.
Their wordless music has become all the more eloquent and carries a message. Full of love, humor and rebellious spirit, their music is a tribute to people on earth who has but to survive. Sometimes it sounds like a requiem. In
01. Ghost Hymn Introduction
02. Pillow Walk
03. The United People Will Never Be Defeated
04. Stara Planina
05. The Sleep-Walker's Escape
06. Dr. Caligari's Side Show
08. Song Of The Birds
09. The Beam And The Bellows
10. The Right To Live In Peace
11. Ghost Requiem
Wataru Okuma (clarinet, bass clarinet, vocals),
Yoshiyuki Kawaguchi (saxophone),
Yoshiki Sakurai (guitar),
Takero Sakijima (tuba, recorder),
Tatsuya Yoshida (drums, vocals),
Keisuke Ota (violin, vocals),
Yoshiaki Sato (accordion),
Yoichiro Kita (trumpet),
Akiko Watanabe (trombone),
Miwazo Kogure (ching-dong, gorosu)