Fri, Jun 25, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Women take center stage

By Adam Ulfers

Women from five different countries will share their experiences, passions and lives with audiences in Taipei next week as part of Trees Music & Art's The Women's Voices Festival.

"The performances are the first of their kind in Taiwan. It is an opportunity for artists from all over the world to exchange ideas in a non-competitive environment and produce music together," said the festival's logistics officer Zhong Si-xi (鍾思齊).

The first night will feature performers from three nations. The Jugala Dance Ensemble will perform the popular Jaipongan dance, which meshes martial arts and traditional Indonesian string music.

An equally captivating performance will follow with a collaboration between Mongolian singing phenomenon, Urna and the Iranian zarb drum group sensation, Chemirani Duo.

Wednesday will involve lively intrigue all its own, with a controversial Aboriginal performance by Inka Mbing (雲力思). Mbing composes her own songs in an effort to revitalize a fading Tai Ya Aboriginal heritage.

"Female singers in Taiwan have very high voices and comparatively [Inka] has a very powerful voice, which is quite rare," said the festival director Zhong Shi-fang (鍾適芳).

Catherine Delasalle, accompanied by Phillip Thuriot on accordion will follow, providing a look at the life and lessons learned by a woman having traveled the world.

The stories are no less inspirational on the third night, opening with Portugal's Dona Rosa, a woman whose voice carried her from the streets, as a homeless person, to the international music arena. She contracted meningitis and went blind at a young age, but her music, known as Fado (a style of blues unique to Portugal) has made her famous.

Euis Komariah will conclude the festival with Sambasunda, an Indonesian percussion group known for its energetic Gamelan performances.

Komariah is known as the pride of Indonesia. The granddaughter of an equally famous singer, she began singing at a young age. According to Zhong Shi-fang, "her voice is like silk."

"I planned this festival after attending a similar female performance in the Czech Republic. I was impressed with the way the women presented their music and wanted to bring the idea to Taipei," Zhong said.

Performance notes:

What: Women's Voices Festival

When: 7:30pm to 10:10pm, June 29, June 30 and July 1

Where: Chungshan Hall, 98 Yenping S Rd, Taipei City (台北市延平南路98)

Tickets: NT$800: for three nights, NT$1,920 (includes a free CD).

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