Fri, Oct 17, 2003 - Page 17 News List

Migration Music Festival moves again

As befits its name, the Migration Music Festival went away last year but is back in Da'an Forest Park, starting tonight, with a package of world music artists who are set to entertain and amaze

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Main picture, one of the performers from Yat Kha, who hail from the Republic of Tuva, Mongolia, on the Russian Steppes.


First it came, then it went away. Now the Migration Music Festival (流浪之歌 音樂節) is back following a year hiatus as eight local and international groups converge tonight on Taipei's Da'an Forest Park for three nights of melodic Iranian drumming, blues-inspired Okinawan tunes, Tuvan rock-and-roll throat-singing and more.

This year's festival is a pared-down version of the eight-day, two-city festival of two years ago, but will still offer exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions and "traveler's tales" in conjunction with Chinese Culture University's expanded education department, who have co-organized the event along with Trees Music and Art (大大樹世界音 樂文化協會). All festival events and activities are free.

Festival coordinator Vanya Chung (鍾適芳) of Trees Music and Art said this year's festival centers around two themes, "old roots, new concepts" and "exploring Asian vitality."

"Six of this year's bands are rooted in an Asian tradition but have been working to expand those traditions. They've put a lot of pressure into bringing back traditional music despite pressure to make it more commercial," Chung said.

A total of eight groups will perform, beginning tonight with local "hip-hop Hakka" outfit Crazyjazz and the Hip-Hak Band, followed by Takashi Hirayasu from Okinawa. The remaining six acts to take the stage tomorrow night and Sunday are Yat-Kha, from the Republic of Tuva, Iran's Chemirani Trio, Indonesia's SambaSunda, and Basque percussionists Ttukunak. Aboriginal songster Kimbo Hu (胡德夫) and local US-UK outfit David Chen and Muddy Basin Ramblers will also perform, all to the accompaniment of onstage campfires.

"This year's festival is smaller, but because of that we've been able to focus more on our themes and presenting a good sampling of where Asian music and folk traditions are heading," Chung said, adding that the music is far more progressive than many people perceive folk music being.

Schedule and Location

Friday, Oct. 17, 7pm Opening Ceremony, 7:30pm Crazyjazz & Hip-Hak Band, 8pm Takashi Hirayasu.

Saturday, Oct. 18, 6:30pm, David Chen & Muddy Basin Ramblers, 7:30pm, Chemirani Trio, 8:40pm, Yat-Kha

Sunday, Oct. 19, 6:30pm, Kimbo & Friends, 7:30pm, Tsukunak, 8:40pm, SambaSunda

Car parking for Da'an Forest Park (大安森林公園) is located under the park and can be accessed from Jianguo S Rd or Xinyi Rd. The amphitheater is located near the middle of the park. Admission is free.

For more English-language information regarding the exhibitions, workshops, panel discussions and "traveler's tales" to be held at Chinese Culture University, check out the festival's Web site at

Festival-goers are recommended to arrive early as limited seating is available in the auditorium, though, with a blanket, the surrounding hillside can also be quite accommodating.

Yat-Kha (Tuva)

Listening to them talk about their homeland might alone be entertaining. The Republic of Tuva sits on the northwestern shoulder of Mongolia in the Russian Steppes. It's known both as the geographical center of Asia and one of the most remote places on earth.

Yat-Kha was born of the giant state ensembles of the former Soviet Union the who were commissioned to play the traditional music of the nation's many regions. Several of Yat-Kha's musicians played in Tuva's official ensemble and one of them, Albert Kuvezin, would later form Yat-Kha.

The band is named after the giant Tuvan zither and the group combines this and other traditional instruments such as an igil and the morinhuur, or Mongolian cello, with Kuvezin's grinding, electric guitar. Perhaps most notable of the band's sound is its use of khoomei, the traditional double-bass throat singing, which Kuvezin uses to such bone-rattling effect.

Yat-Kha's lineup has changed of late, with two of its members taking "paternity leave." Sailyk Ommun has since joined the band and provides sultry, bluesy vocals to offset Kuvezin's guttural growl and complement his Sonic Youth-inspired guitar.

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