Music documentary to shine spotlight on the south

Back in January 2009 I attended a screening of the documentary “Voices from the South: Kaohsiung’s Independent Music Scene” at The Wall in Taipei. The documentary, directed by Don Quan, was about the indie music scene in Kaohsiung. The film followed the fortunes five Kaohsiung bands and four of these bands (KoOk, Orange Doll (橘娃娃), Shy Kick Apple (害羞踢蘋果) and Fire Ex (滅火器)) also performed at The Wall following the documentary screening which made it a unique experience.

Four years have now passed since Don Quan made the original documentary and he is now planning a follow up titled “Dig The New Breed: Voices From The South Part II.” I contacted Don by e-mail to ask him some questions about his new documentary project and the current state of the indie music scene in Kaohsiung. Continue reading

Music and No Nukes on Fulong Beach

Hohaiyan Music Festival on Fulong Beach

Yesterday I attended the first day of the 2011 Hohaiyan Music Festival (海洋音樂祭) at Fulong Beach. The festival, organised by the New Taipei City (formerly Taipei County) Government, has been running since 2000. The festival has two stages with the main stage on Fulong Beach. There are also food stalls and toilets set up on the beach and a huge staff to keep things running smoothly.

No Nukes group at Hohaiyan

When I arrived on the beach I saw members of the No Nukes group (諾怒客) handing out posters and talking to people. It is a reminder that just a few kilometres away from this beautiful beach the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant is under construction.   Continue reading

ChthoniC release new MV — TAKAO

ChthoniC have released a music video for their new single “TAKAO” (皇軍). The single is from their new album which is scheduled for release in August July. The video was directed by Vince Chuang (莊志文) who has directed other videos for ChthoniC including “49 Theurgy Chains“.

The video and song is about Taiwanese soldiers who fought for Japan in World War II. Some of these soldiers were indigenous people who were known as the Takasago Volunteers. Their story is the theme of ChthoniC’s forthcoming album. The video includes an 80 year old Atayal man whose father fought for Japan in Southeast Asia.

The song also features the voice of DPP legislator Yu Tien (余天). In a post on Facebook ChthoniC bass player Doris Yeh said, “Yu Tien’s voice perfectly provides the passionate vibe of the song.”

The Chinese name of the song means “Japanese Imperial Army” but the English name is “Takao”. This is the old Hoklo Taiwanese name for Kaohsiung, which was the harbor that soldiers departed from to join the war. Doris said, “This is a way of letting the fans around the world know Kaohsiung.”

The single is being released in Europe by Spinefarm Records. It includes a bonus track with Finnish metal band Ensiferum singing the chorus of “Takao” in English.

Erhu rock battle at Emerge Live House

Two erhu players on stage

Two bands featuring the erhu, a traditional Chinese two-stringed musical instrument, took to the stage of the Emerge Live House in Taichung last night. The Hsu-nami (海嘯樂團) came all the way from the USA and Sun Of Morning (晨曦光廊) are a Taiwanese band. Many music fans will already be familiar with Taiwanese metal band ChthoniC’s use of the erhu. These two bands add a new dimension to the genre of erhu rock.  Continue reading

Mega Port Festival rocks Kaohsiung

Mega Port Festival in Kaohsiung

The Mega Port Festival (大港開場) was held over the weekend of 5-6 March in Kaohsiung. The festival featured a few bands from Japan and the UK and some big name Taiwanese stars in Wu Bai and Jeannie Hsieh. However, it was largely a showcase of Taiwan’s best contemporary indie bands.

Mega Port by the harbour in Kaohsiung

Bands played on three stages spread out along the side of the harbour in the Pier 2 Arts District (駁二藝術特區). The close proximity to the Love River and the harbour gave the festival a unique maritime feel. Continue reading

Freak Out Beast in Da’an Park

Freak Out Beast's big stage in Da'an Park

The Freak Out Beast (吵年獸) music festival began in 2006. It is held in Taipei each year around the time of the Lunar New Year holiday, when there is usually a lack of live music events. I attended the festival for the last couple of years in Ximending. This year the event moved to Da’an Forest Park.

The amphitheatre in Da’an Park has a big stage where plenty of bands had the chance to strut their stuff. The weekend also had beautiful blue skies and warm temperatures. This was quite a contrast to the typical Lunar New Year weather in Taipei and the crowd enjoyed both the music and the sunshine. Continue reading