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 →
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.
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 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.
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 →
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.
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 →
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 coupleof 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 →
Taiwanese hip-hop group Kou Chou Ching (拷秋勤) have just released a new music video titled “Around the World” (世界放風聲). 2010 has seen Kou Chou Ching touring to the USA, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The video features footage from the group’s world tour, but the lyrics leave no doubt that their music is 100% Made in Taiwan.
Here is my translation of some of the lyrics:
從東京到台北 再來到紐約 我們的腳步從來不停歇
From Tokyo to Taipei and all the way to New York,
Our feet have never stopped for stopped for a rest
巡迴 的武器是音樂 Made in Taiwan 的純正口味
On tour our weapon is music with a “Made in Taiwan” pure flavor
高喊台灣 我從來不害臊 這個國家是我的驕傲
Shouting out “Taiwan”, I’ve never been ashamed
This country is my pride
我要你聽到 明瞭 知道 台灣的榮耀 在這 Right now
I want you to clearly hear and know the glory of Taiwan
Right here, right now!
Saturday was something of a washout in Taichung. Heavy rains for most of the afternoon limited my attendance at the first day of Rock in Taichung (搖滾台中樂團節) to just one performance. Although the rain kept the crowds down there were still plenty of young people out enjoying the free festival in Taichung’s Wenxin Park.
I saw Panai and her husband Nabu, two indigenous musicians from Taitung, perform a great set on one of the festival’s smaller stages. During the set Panai spoke out against the plans for a nuclear waste dump in Taitung County. Many music festivals shy away from musicians with a political message. It was good that people like Panai had a chance to speak out about important issues.