What the hell is Japanese Klezmer?
Meet Charan-Po-Rantan, A Japanese girl group who play weirdo klezmer mash-ups that sound David Krakauer blowing on a ramen noodle. They dress in the kinds of technicolor costumes you expect from a J-Pop duo on the rise, with lead singer Momo Matsunaga usually grasping a stuffed pig while her sister Koharu absolutely slays on accordion. And while their songs glide exuberantly across the Judeo-Balkan-Gypsy spectrum, their musical foundation is fundamentally Klezmer.
They’re also a whole lot of fucking fun. Check it:
As Koharu — the group’s songwriter — recently explained to the Wall Street Journal, the obsession with Jewish wedding music began in middle school, after she heard Hava Nagila (what else?) for the first time.
But wait, they’re not the only J-Klez game in town. This is Jinta-la-Mvta, a more, uh, traditional (?) group lead by bandleader Ohkuma Wataru:
So, is the land of the rising sun becoming the land of the wailing clarinet? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, though, suddenly I’ve got a hankering for some saké-borscht bombs and pickled herring sushi.