‘Björk said it should sound like the Cantina band!’: the enduring influence of Star Wars’ bizarre jazz group

It’s been cited as an inspiration by everyone from Coldplay to Animal Collective. Musicians discuss why one of Star Wars’ most iconic scenes became such a phenomenon

Of all the gin joints in all the galaxy, Luke Skywalker walked into Mos Eisley Cantina. A wretched hive of villainy where your pint of blue milk might get spilled by some unfriendly bum-faced alien, the tavern is seared into the memory of nearly every sci-fi fan alive thanks to its appearance in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope.

But what Mos Eisley lacked in charm it more than made up for in live entertainment, being the regular gig of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, perhaps better known simply as the Cantina band – the lobster-looking musicians whose bizarre interstellar take on Dixieland jazz, perhaps unwisely termed “jizz”, is currently enjoying a return to the zeitgeist as an influence on Björk’s new album, Fossora.

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