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

Youth can change Taiwan!

My recent letter in the Taipei Times ended by saying that youth must speak out to protect freedom in Taiwan. After I posted a link to my letter on Facebook Michael Turton commented that the youth also need to vote.

It seems very timely that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) just released a campaign video featuring rapper Dog G (大支) titled “Change Taiwan” (改變台灣). The DPP writes in the description of Dog G’s video that they want youth to actively participate in and contribute their ideas to the election campaign. They go on to write, “the DPP wants to promote an overall increase in the youth vote. It is not just concerned with the overall breakdown of votes between the parties. The key point is that youth should play a key role in this election!” Continue reading

Exclaim! TV reports on Taiwan’s indie music scene

Exclaim! TV from Canada visited Taiwan in April this year to report on Taiwan’s burgeoning indie music scene. They attended Spring Scream (春天吶喊) and also checked out live venues in Taipei. A five-part series of videos documenting Taiwan’s music scene is now available for viewing online. Part One is embedded above and links to all five videos can be found at the end of this post.

I contacted  Exclaim! TV’s Sam Sutherland by e-mail and asked him about his impressions of his time in Taiwan. He was surprised that at Spring Scream not many people were drinking. Sam said, “At any music festival in North America, the beer tent is as crowded as the main stage. But it seemed like James and I were the only people bothering to buy beers in a crowd of thousands.” Continue reading

Photowalking in Taichung

Amis girls in three-legged race

I had a busy day yesterday taking photos around Taichung. The day began at an Aboriginal Cultural Festival organised by the Taichung City Government. The event featured some traditional dancing as well as some fun activities like the three-legged race pictured above and a tug-of-war. There was also a good range of aboriginal style food on offer — plenty of assorted meats on the BBQ and some fresh fruits like grapes and peaches grown in the mountains.

Amis women in a line dance

The colorful clothing of the Amis makes for great photos. I have a complete set of photos from this event at flickr.  Continue reading

Free Burma concert in Kaohsiung on 19 June

Free Burma concert in Kaohsiung

Every year the Taiwan Free Burma Network (台灣自由緬甸網絡) holds a concert on Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday. This year the event will be held on Saturday 19 June in Kaohsiung’s Central Park (高雄市中央公園) from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

The event features acoustic performances by Tonic (主音樂團) and Panai (巴奈). There will also be postcard signing for people to show their support for a free Burma. Burma is holding elections this year for the first time since 1990. However, it is likely that there will not be a free and fair vote. Aung San Suu Kyi still remains under house arrest and along with other political prisoners will probably be unable to contest the election. The elections will probably lead to a continuation of the military junta’s rule and won’t bring about democracy.

Also in Kaohsiung on Saturday night two of Taiwan’s best post-rock bands, Aphasia (阿飛西雅) and Bugs of Phonon (聲子蟲) are also playing at The Wall (駁二藝術特區) in Kaohsiung. More details at Indievox.

Sanying Community celebrates another year

On Saturday the Amis community of Sanying (三鶯部落) in Sanxia held its end of year celebration. The event attracted a crowd of about 500 people which was more than last year’s event. The community had also undergone a lot rebuilding after its demolition in February 2008.

The afternoon began with dancing by members of Sanying and also the nearby riverside community of Saowac. As the evening approached the dancing ended and there was a generously catered meal enjoyed by everyone in attendance. Continue reading

Get ready for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus is hitting Taichung and Taipei this Friday and Saturday. This is the third Circus, a semi-annual event, in Taiwan. It is set to continue the tradition of wild and entertaining shows.

The Circus is the brainchild of The Deadly Vibes, a garage rock trio based in Yilan. The band has been playing for four years. It formed after the members of The Daymakers decided to swap instruments. J.D. says The Deadly Vibes music “is from the heart.” They play good time rock ‘n’ roll party music and aim to entertain the crowd. The band has toured several countries in Asia and earlier this year toured six countries in Europe.

I spoke to J.D. of The Deadly Vibes about plans for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Circus. J.D. said, “There are a lot of festivals and shows in Taiwan, but we want something with a direct involvement with the crowd. We’ll do some giveaways and prizes. We want to give crowds something different to see.” Continue reading

Saturday in Ximending

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On Saturday afternoon I headed to Ximending (西門町) to meet a friend and see what was happening. The place was abuzz with activity. One of the first things I spotted was this concert going on in the plaza beside the Red Theatre (紅樓). The plaza also has a lively market where young designers and artists tout their wares.

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Standing outside the MRT Station two young college students approached me. Their teacher had asked them to speak to some foreigners to practice their English. I patiently and politely obliged their request (while silently cursing their English teacher). Continue reading