It was a great night out for me at the Riverside河岸留言 music venue; not too many people showed up, but the crowd was shy but enthusiastic, supporting their favourite acts and even bringing along signboards and posters! All the better for me to get up close and personal with the artists, including my favourite Lara Veronin, as well as Mify (member of disbanded band Roomie), Aoki and many others!
The very cute Musical Director Mc-ed the night with a huge dose of adorable dorkiness, but was able to take the edge off things, making it a relaxing night for both the performers while onstage and the audience. Although I don't know the names of all the members of Sunny Frog Productions personally, I feel that each of them played and performed with professionalism and a sense of humour which is always needed in situations such as these! There were a few technical hitches throughout the concert, but between the MC desperately trying to give out drink vouchers no one seemed to want and the friendly but one-sided banter between the artists and the audience; I think there were bigger things at hand to worry about. Although the crowd was somewhat aloof the whole time, looking around I saw people who were enthusiastic (albeit inwardly) about supporting good music, and was happy to join them in enjoying the wonderful music that was played for us that friday night.
The first act of the night was Lin Jun Lin, a quiet, unassuming girl who's guitar playing and voice quietly blew the crowd away. Although she's not much by the way of stage personalities, her talent shines through, as does her sweet and clear vocals and meaningful lyrics in <叛逆>(Rebellious).
The Sunny Frog Productions team worked well together, performing a seamless string of original songs with a great rhythm to each piece. It was really great to see everyone enjoying themselves up on stage, and seeing each performer as an instrumental and equal part of each song made me really happy! There's not much I can say, other than that I thoroughly enjoyed each and every song they performed. Also a special mention to dance duo Sam and Ding Ding, whose contemporary-influenced dance to <流浪到淡水> (if I'm not wrong) was really impressive and captured the dynamics and rhythm of the song perfectly!
Aiko方語昕, a popular cover artist on youtube shared her story with loyal fans and audience alike, how she found herself through her music and her journey in finding happiness. I was impressed with the songs that she wrote herself with arrangements by Sunny Frog, but felt the <狮子路口>(Lion's mouth) was a little indulgent and it was really hard for me to find the melody line in the song. Her bubbly personality really won me over, as well as the passion and dedication that she put into learning the guitar.
Mify, previously a member of the girl group Roomie preferred not to be associated so much with the disbanded group, but definitely held her own with her powerhouse vocals and great stage personality. Performing a song from her Roomie days, she brought it in a whole new direction and injected it with energy and focus. Her cover of <Titanium> also showed off her strong vocals and the creativeness of using a vocal changing machine in <The future> brought an element of excitement to the performance, but also made it harder for me to hear where the song was going. however, it had a rocking rhythm and the band was so energetic that it was still a hit for me. Definitely one of the artists who impressed me the most tonight!
Previous million star contestant (A popular taiwanese singing contest) Xu Ren Jie Stanly Xu made a surprising entrance by appearing within the crowd and starting the performance of his own creation <The light from the stars> from within the audience, before slowly making his way onto stage. The song was a warm ditty that was further enhanced by his strong baritone vocals. His rendition of the song <Catch A Feeling> where he encouraged the crowd to sing along was well done, but it was a pity that his attempts at getting the crowd to sing along were very much in vain.
And last but definitely not least was the act that I was waiting for ; Lara Veronin! (Side note: I was so excited I couldn't sleep the night before!) Having never heard her sing live before, but having seen videos, I kind of knew what I was in for but was impressed all the same. Starting off with a rock version of her song <Free Spirit> , Lara got the crowd moving with her all-encompassing stage personality, before performing her new song with Sunny Frog Productions' Roger <好开始>(Good beginnings) which she wrote the lyrics for! Finally she ended on a high note with her rendition of Bon Jovi's <It's my life>, encouraging the audience to sing along and showing off her high vocal range and technique. Honestly I think I was a little in shock throughout her performance just seeing her for the first time, but I really do think that she did a phenomenal job this time around.
Unfortunately, I had to leave almost straight after, so wasn't able to stick around for the last few songs, the final bow and TAWKI-Taipei As We Know It's creative event being held afterwards, but went back really happy,having listened to some really great artists performing some really good music.For a lot of these artists, they probably don't get much of a chance to perform songs that they've written themselves for large audiences, so it was really nice for me to hear them and their ideas through their music. Definitely regret not getting the EP on sale which featured many of the songs performed on the night, but was still really impressed by creative spirit that encompassed the entire performance. I would go again in a heartbeat.
Concert Track List:
1. Guitar Instrumental
2.叛逆Rebellious (Original piece by 林君琳)
Sunny Frog Productions
3.小雨伞(Sang by Roger from Sunny Frog Productions ; Original piece by Sunny Frog Productions)
4.暗ni(?)(Sunny Frog Productions Original)
5.流浪到淡水(Sunny Frog Productions Original)
8.狮子路口(Possibly not the right name)
9.你懂我You get me(Original by Roomie)
11.未来 the future
许仁杰 Hsu Ren Jie
12.小星星的光The light from the stars(Original by Ren Jie)
13.Catch a Feeling
15.好开始Good Beginnings (Lara's new duet with Roger from Sunny Frog Productions)
16. It's My Life (Bon Jovi cover)
Sunny Frog Productions
**Sorry that the concert track list is incomplete; I did the best I could.
If you're kind of low on funds while in taiwan but want to see some great performances, it's time to put on your swaggy threads and blend in with the high school crowd! In taiwan, it's really common for artists to be invited to perform at certain school events, and its also a great way for you to get to see your favourite artists at low prices, or sometimes free!
In this case, it's going to be held at Heping high school, and is free of charge to get in! But I probably should warn you, this probably entails some high school side acts who will be performing in between the larger acts. Anyway if you're still reading this, Lara Veronin will be performing, as will the talented Diana Wang and Rchord, making his debut back into the music scene after an extended period of hiatus. Should be a fun night, so if you're in taiwan and unafraid to re-enter your adolescent years for a night, see you there!
Venue: 和平高中活动中心4楼 Heping High School Activity center level 4
Price: Free entry
Time: 5.30 start queueing, 6pm doors open and 6.30 the performance starts
Date: 7th March, Friday
Taiwan's favourite cover singer the talented A-Fu will be holding a concert at Legacy on the 14th of March! Not only will she be performing her spin on popular songs, she will also perform songs from her own albums! I'm always excited to see what A-Fu comes up with because of her unique view of music. Come along if you want to catch a glimpse of the uniqueness of her music! Even if you don't understand Chinese, she will be singing some english songs (I hope), so come along and enjoy some good music!
Date: 14th March , Friday
Where: Legacy Taipei
Address:Legacy Taipei 傳 音樂展演空間（台北市八德路一段一號‧華山1914創意文化園區 中五館）
Price: 1000NT online purchasing ; 1200NT at the door
Go here to buy tickets: https://www.indievox.com/legacy/event-post/14361
Here for more information: http://www.legacy.com.tw/program_detail.php?ln=tw&BID=1714
See you there!
For those of you who will be in Taipei in the next week or so, be sure to catch this event by Sunny Frog Productions! They're a great team of musicians, production staff and artists that have decided to put together a show for you, with a selection of great artists including Lara梁心颐 , Mify,and many other promising artists! Come along and help to support the independent music scene!
Check out their facebook page for more details: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sunny-Frog-%E6%99%B4%E5%A4%A9%E8%9B%99%E8%9B%99/462704633812504
Venue: 西门町红楼河岸留言 Ximending Red House Riverside Venue
Time: Saturday, 21st of February, 8pm-11.30pm
Price: 500 NTD (you do the math)
*Note: Buying tickets at the door is an option, but you will have to pay 600NTD
Where to get tickets: http://tickets.books.com.tw/progshow/03050001235038
*Note:If using books.tw , international debit cards are also accepted as payment.
The Best Way To Get To The Venue:
MRT. Take the MRT/捷运 down to the Ximen stop and exit via the 红楼exit. On exiting the MRT, directly in front of you will be a red coloured building called 西门红楼(Ximen Red House); it is a free cultural exhibition. Follow the building around to the back side past the cafes and that's where it is. Taking a Taxi is also an option, just tell them the name of the place , 西门红楼 or 西门町河岸留言 and they will probably be able to take you there.
Seeing as I’ll be staying in Taipei during my trip, I’ll only be covering upcoming events in Taipei that visitors or chinese music enthusiasts may want to look out for. I understand that many don’t speak or read chinese, so if you’re a fan and want to come along, the information that I will be providing is sufficient for you to get yourself to the location of the event!
-I will be providing the addresses of the places in chinese, and if you are a visitor, I would strongly suggest taking a taxi and showing them the address that I have provided so that you can be sent to the venue without much fuss.
-Some of these events require you to buy a ticket, while some don’t.Generally if it’s an autograph session or a music event being held in a public place such as a bookstore, it will be free. If you have any questions about the event, drop me a question and I can find out for you or tell you what you need to know!
-If the events are small-scale, and reading Chinese is not your forte, buying tickets at the door may be an option; however, there will probably be extra charge for the ticket if bought at the door. As for larger scale concerts (eg. Mayday, S.H.E…) who will perform in places such as Taipei Arena, I would recommend buying tickets prior to coming. You can do this online usually at Books.tw , or if you have problems, any convenience store (Family Mart, Hi-mart or 7-11) would be a helpful place to start asking questions. I’m fairly sure you can book tickets at 7-11 for certain concerts, but the staff are generally more than happy to help!
Finally, I really hope this information will help you to experience more highlights of Taiwanese music and the music scene than you would otherwise! Taipei is chock-full of surprises and it’s music scene is certainly a bustling one when you examine it more closely. Music is all around, you just have to know where to look!
What I’ve heard from friends on past exchanges was definitely right. I bid goodbye to my family today, but what I got from the three days that they spent here with me was a sense of the extent that they would go to to help me to achieve my dreams of being able to live in Taiwan and experience all aspects of life here. They were accepting, patient and ultimately, happy and supportive of my decision throughout the process. So if you’re planning to go on exchange, don’t forget about your family that’s always waiting for you back at home! Don’t make them anxious waiting for a reply from you about how your day went; be proactive and give them updates daily about what you’ve been up to, and the experiences that you’ve had! Your family will always be your number one support, no matter where they are or where you are, so don’t make them worried. Although making new friends and establishing connections are important in the physical world you’re living in, family should always be your first and foremost priority. Whatsapp, Facebook, Skype-there’s absolutely no reason for you not to drop them a message even if you’re just out for the day with friends, or at the library cramming for a test. That goes for anyone really, not just exchange students, although it is more obvious you need to keep a connection going, especially if you won’t be seeing family for a while!
A song that perfectly explains this feeling is Sharon kwan's <半个地球的挂念>(longings from halfway across the world). The singer who wrote this, the amazingly talented Peggy Hsu was studying abroad in Vancouver, and recalls the feelings of warmth that her family brought from halfway across the globe within this song.
A link to the lyric translation: http://asianpopweekly.weebly.com/3/category/sharon%20kwan/1.html
For a person like me, making friends has always been hard. What I should say and how I should act are always big problems that disallow me from making friends. Maybe some of you have the same problems too! But being on the campus tour with people from all around the world today was a great experience for me, being unlike no other that I had ever experienced. Slowly I was able to warm up to the group and make friends, but for the first forty-five minutes or so I probably didn’t say more than 10 words..
My advice to you: be open to making friends, smile more and let them know that you want to be friends with them! I’m still working the logistics of it out, being the antisocial person I am, but I’m really glad that I was able to (by some stroke of luck) make friends with many of the international students by the end of the day! Being a good listener and hearing their stories really opened my eyes to different cultures, and how we are able to find differences even in the smallest details of our lives. Just like David Tao’s lyrics once said: “Being different is just that; being different-so what?” We as humans can’t claim to all be the same, because it’s plain to see that we aren’t. But what we can all claim as humans is a right to be able to be different; to have equal dignity and acceptance, no matter where we go, and how we choose to live our lives. Being on exchange and making friends with people from different parts of the world also helps a lot in allowing people to banish this concept of ethnocentrism(thinking your culture is the best), while understanding how others live.
Especially when you’re left to your own devices in a foreign land, it is really up to you and your wits to get through each situation. Being a person who is not familiar with directions in Taipei, my first day consisted of me and my family running around like headless chickens(sorry!) in the rain and cold trying to find my allocated accommodation. In such situations, humour and patience are your best buddies, as getting anxious and angry will do no good to yourself or those around you trying to help! I see myself consciously learning and realising things in a foreign place, but it’s probably just the new surroundings that are making me even more aware of my thoughts and experiences. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is: be patient and be kind, it’ll get you a lot further than anger and anxiety. But you probably already knew that..
Anyway, I'd also like to share a song that I really love related to travelling; Cheer Chen's <旅行的意义>(The meaning of travelling). I also especially love Lala Hsu's arrangement of it, but both of the versions inspire a sense of exploration and freedom in me. So sit back, relax and have a listen!
This section will basically be like a mini-diary of my life in Taipei, and to demonstrate how going on exchange or being a visiting student or tourist in another country, especially by yourself can open your eyes to the world in so many ways. It can make you grow up overnight, but it can also make you value what you have and what’s waiting for you at the end of the road. Many of the people I’ve met also on exchange tell me that they’re here for a new experience, to be away from family etc. , but before you go on exchange (if you are considering it, that is), think about why you want to go. Music in Taiwan is a really big deal for me, and I’ve been planning for this experience for a long time, not just physically but also mentally. So I had no doubts about what I wanted to achieve while I was here, and most importantly, why I wanted to be here. If you can say that same about yourself, then I believe that you will definitely be able to have a fulfilling and exciting experience in whichever place in the world you choose!
Each entry in this section will also demonstrate one thing that I learnt from that day. Many of these morals or words of wisdom are probably common sense to you guys, but it really is very different when you’re experiencing it first-hand! Hope you enjoy reading these entries!
My true inspiration that motivated me to embark on this trip was actually Lara Veronin's album <Free Spirit>; it's concept inspired me greatly to find ways in which i could free my spirit, and be truly happy. If you would like to read more about what she has to say on this concept, check out the link below! Happy Reading
Now back from my travels, I use this now as a blog to document any live reviews, and personal experiences related to our collective passion for Asian identity and Chinese music.