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Song about Sumo that reminds me of Martinete, kinda   You are logged in as Guest
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Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

Song about Sumo that reminds me of M... 

This guy live next to my guitar shop in Akune Japan. One night a few weeks ago I was at the onsen soaking in the hot water and he dropped into the pool I was soaking in and said "I want to sing a song about sumo."

Ok I said, let's hear it. He began a long series of songs that reminded me of martinete and siguiriya. He even punctuated the rhythms with sounds like jaleo. These song styles are very old and in Japan like most other places in the world with long histories there are work songs and folk songs about all parts of work and culture.

I asked if there was a sing form for the blacksmiths and guys who make swords, a true fragua song, but I have not found it yet.

Sumo culture is not unlike flamenco culture in that it has a following of devoted afcionados who discern between different schools and styles- and sumo is more that two fat guys pushing each other around. It has a back story, songs, and ceremony that reminds me of the ceremony around flamenco and bullfighting. Not the content of the ceremony so much, but the devotion and knowledge of the afcionado.

I saw Masaru-san at the street festival a few days ago and asked him to sing a bit to share with you here.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 1:10:41

Posts: 5237
Joined: Jun. 8 2012
From: Los Angeles

RE: Song about Sumo that reminds me ... (in reply to estebanana

Awesome!! I'm with you, it sounds pretty damn jondo to my ears. Thanks for sharing!


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 1:35:09

Posts: 797
Joined: Jun. 1 2010
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia

RE: Song about Sumo that reminds me ... (in reply to estebanana

Man, I don't even know what to say about that except that it was moving and very neat to hear. Thanks for taking the time to capture and share this!

I can't help but feel that my life would be much, much better if I had regular access to an onsen. Sounds like a bit of heaven to this Canadian boy


  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 3:20:55

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

RE: Song about Sumo that reminds me ... (in reply to estebanana

You could open an onsen in Nova Scotia and you would be the hit of the territory.

Masaru can sing like that for a long time before he runs out of letras. He's kind of like Agujetas, except he's never been in prison. On hot summer days he washes his face in a bowl of water while he sits outside his door. Then he sharpens a big fishing knife and uses it to shave his head. He's real country boy, but he is very nice guy. He reminds me of the character in small towns in Spain.

We have lots of characters here. There's one guy I call NekkoMan because he's a bit off in the head and walks around the 'hood feeding dried minnows to all the cats. He won't talk to very many people and my brother in law said when he was kid he got beat up and teased lot. He says hello to me because I'm crazy too.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 4:43:54

Posts: 14984
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Song about Sumo that reminds me ... (in reply to estebanana

Cool. Most modal music we westerners will draw Parallels to flamenco. Modal means you keep restating that tonic and stick to a single scale concept (don't change keys or tonal center like in western music), based on your tuning system relative to that tonic. This way of singing is found throughout asia and Middle East of course. For me the music differences are enormous here between this and say Martinete. He sings pentatonic and martinete mixes Major minor and phrygian scales.

I read that the Chinese (and other asian cultures obviously) used the pentatonic scale because they felt the two notes that make the tritone (the cool notes that are skipped in this type of pentatonic scale that are uber important notes in flamenco yet still part of asian tuning systems) were a "gateway to the spirit world". Christian church modes probably had similar reasons for avoiding that sound. They have a special dark quality that for sure evokes the "duende" in flamenco singing. Also if you think about blues, as guitar players, we mainly think of that basic pentatonic scale until we bring in the "blues note", that colorfully dark b5 that gives all the meaning to the blues vibe (and prevents it all from sounding chinese LOL). For non theory type people, you can visualize this thing by looking at a piano. Where the black keys are missing are the location of the special notes that together make a tritone interval. (B and F). And if you play only the Black keys, you have a pentatonic scale.



CD's and transcriptions available here:
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 13:20:26

Posts: 9396
Joined: Oct. 16 2009

RE: Song about Sumo that reminds me ... (in reply to estebanana


Thanks for the break down, yeah that's why I said kinda. I meant his character of voice mainly, they way he draws from the parts of the vocal instrument that make the eco in flamenco and the way it passes back a forth between deep clear sound, to fuzzy chest sound to nasal sound.

This kind of singing can be accompanied by shamisen in call and response style. But wher eI live this is as close to a live flamenco sound as I can get, so naturally I am drawn to it. Plus the fact that he uses a fish knife to shave his head.

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date May 6 2014 23:21:39
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