Cicala Mvta
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Cicala Mvta


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The best kept secret in music


"DEKOBOKO (2nd album 2001)"

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. - Amazon review

"Cicala Mvta"

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. (Jun 18, 2004) - TAIPEI TIMES By Yu Sen-lun

"DEKOBOKO (2nd album 2001)"

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. - Radio National ;Australia

"The Return of Japanese Street Music in a different way?@with CICALA-MVTA"

1st album EU versionThe band Cicala Mvta was founded in 1994 by its leader Wataru Ohkuma who is rated as one of the most innovative musicians of contemporary Japanese music. He is a superb player of the clarinet, saxes, vibes and accordeon.
As producer and bandleader Wataru Ohkuma had participated in many revolutionary recordings of the 80ties (a.o. "Soulflower Mononoke Summit") .
Wataru Ohkuma merges in his music Okinawa-style music and other traditional Japanese forms like Jinta with western composition techniques and traditions.
Some say this CD "Ching Dong" is the Japanese answer to Giora Feidman and to Fanfare Ciocarlia. The bands name, Cicala Mvta is Italian and is written as the epitaph on the gravestone of the greatest street singer songwriter of popular music in Japan before the 1920s,Soeda Azembo, who at the time around 70 years ago, unable to speak his mind in fear of being thrown into prison, like having a cicala stuck in his throat, a "mute cicada".

The band Cicala Mvta merges Japanese Chindon music with own compositions and traditional music from various ethnic regions. Ohkuma plays a composition by Paul Dessau as well as Kabuki-melodies (Shi-chome) and Nepalese wedding dances or Klezmer songs.

Basis is Chindon music which until 50 years ago was a popular street form of advertising. Chindon bands were common in Japanese cities where new openings of shops, inaugurations of Pachinko's a.o. were announced by them.

In Cicala Mvta brass bands from Balkan meet Klezmerbands as well as New Orleans Marching Bands within the overcrowded streets of Tokyo.

The British magazine "FolkRoots" about "Ching Dong":
?gThe stirring debut album by Cicala Mvta, Wataru Ohkuma's own band, produces complex, challenging and powerful music.?h - (The review for the 1st album 1997/ text by Paul Fisher)

"DEKOBOKO (2nd album 2001)"

2nd album "DEKOBOKO" EU versionJapanese 7 piece with wild street band material, much of it folk influenced (Japanese, East European and other) with additive rhythms and an approach that moves from the legendary Compostella to the big unison melody statements of Ground Zero. Great There's a fine Albert Ayler medley and a piece based on Bartok's microcosmos too. The energy peaks at Ornette Coleman levels and the performances and arrangements are sure, clear and impressive. Straight ahead musical. - (ReR megacope;England)

"GHOST CIRCUS (3rd album 2004)"

Wild and raucous, but completely under control, big-band style, street orchestra style, mixed up kids: clarinet family, saxes, violin, cello, lap steel guitar, autoharp, bass, drums, musical saw, tuba, electronics... Fine arrangements, often at breakneck speed, exquisitely recorded with a Sogenanntes Linksradikales Blasorchester political edge (El Puebro Unido & Jara's Right to Live in Peace). You know after 2 bars it's Japanese - that hyper-real energy, technical skill, overall perfection and plain human force just shine through. - (ReR megacope)

"GHOST CIRCUS (3rd album 2004)"

Third album from Cicala Mvta is up to their usual high standard of creative, unclassifiable, amalgamation of individual spirits, who collectively are an exploding melting pot of sound. With circus and street band music at the core, their instrumental music on clarinet, sax, violin, electric guitar, tuba, cello and drums is constantly shifting in mood, surprising and as always with Cicala Mvta, compellingly briliant. - (farsidemusic;England)

"DEKOBOKO (2nd album 2001)"

Released worldwide in 2002 by Tropical Music.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. - <the review from FAR SIDE MUSIC>


CICALA-MVTA, the 1st Album of "CICALA-MVTA" released on Mar. 1998
deko-boko, the 2nd Album of "CICALA-MVTA" released on Oct. 2001
GHOST CIRCUS, the 3rd Album of "CICALA-MVTA" released on May 2004


Feeling a bit camera shy


1960 OHKUMA Wataru born in HIROSHIMA pref. in Japan.
1979 He started music career in an avan-garde rock band in TOKYO
1985 He met CHIN-DONG tradition and started clarinet
1994 He organised his own band later named CICALA-MVTA
1998 CICALA-MVTA released their 1st album?hCICALA-MVTA?h
2000 The 1st Euro tour around 8 countries more than 20 cities
including at ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL (London with BLUR),BBC radio recording,etc.
2001 The 2nd album ?gDEKOBOKO?h was released
2002 The 2nd Euro tour including Roskilde festival(Denmark), Roots festival (Holland),etc.
2003 appeard at FUJI ROCK FESTIVAL (japan)
2004 released the 3rd album ?gGHOST CIRCUS?h
petit-CICALA-MVTA appeard at THE ASIAN MUSIC FESTIVAL (Taiwan Chiayi)