Like a healthy dose of cod liver oil, most people know funk is good for them, though not many regularly partake. It’s a fine thing, therefore, to see reasonably new boy to the scene David Clabaugh, aka DJ Soto, laying down his own brand of funky world music on Thursdays at Center Stage with his own night, Sagittarius Rising.
Having been in Taiwan just over one year Soto, 35, has worked the beat at places such as Bliss and a free street show in Ximending on Sundays. His music is eclectic with a nod to funk fusion. “I like to mix world sounds, like jazz, rare groove funk 45s and hip-hop. With electronica becoming more global and not restricted to English-speaking markets, sounds are coming out of all corners of the globe that fuse.”
Funk, according to Soto, was the renaissance of recorded music and instrumental in creating many of the sounds sampled in hundreds of hip-hop and house tracks. “Because it was relatively cheap to press tracks, thousands of bands would record while they were touring to sell more merchandise,” said Soto. “[Funk musicians] were capturing an exciting moment in music which still permeates what tops the charts today. It is timeless.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF ANDREW CLABAUGH
On Thursdays Soto, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, begins old-school funky and then moves onto Middle Eastern beats mixed with Brazilian samba. “Sagittarius Rising is all about change and adapting to that change, freedom, and independent in nature,” said Soto with a nod to Zodiac sensibilities. “With the music, I try to adapt the two styles to meet at a common ground and see what comes out.”
Soto also uses a projector to add visuals to his set. “For people who are there to just have a drink or dinner, I like to show obscure movies with a strong visual element so people can get something from it without hearing the audio. I play movies like Black Orpheus, Rockers or Sergei Parajanov films.”
Last Thursday, hip-hoppers THC made a guest appearance. The hip-hop outfit freestyled over the beats, created a great sound, especially when rapping in French, and backed up Soto’s idea of adaptation and freedom. Zacharie Touzin aka BabbleOn from THC will be returning to play. “I’ll be there next time and I hope to see some of the real music heads come through … . The music was fresh,” said Touzin. “[Soto’s] style is creative and versatile. It was a musical adventure that had me singing and dancing.”
For the house heads out there looking for electro enlightenment, you can all funk off to Stereo Fridays tonight at Ageha with a special party being put on for Dominick Fresina, DJ Fratzuki, who today reached the peak of his physical existence and turned 28. Fratzuki will be bringing home raw house from 2:30am until 4am, following top foreigner DJs Junior and Megan, Saucey and Gareth Jones. For two-for-one VIP card entry before 12:30am, send an e-mail to Megan (see below) as early as possible today.
A final Vinyl Word tip-off: If you missed the delicious all Taiwanese Tomodachi DJ dish two weeks ago at The Wall, you didn’t finish your dinner, didn’t show a clean plate, and weren’t excused from the table. All is not lost, however. You could, and should, get after-party pudding with Tomodachi’s brand new rock/electro mix. You can listen to it for free on the Web at www.myspace.com/tomodachidjs.
Sagittarius Rising at Center Stage, 3F, 8, Nanjing E Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市南京東路五段8號3樓). Every Thursday from 9pm until late. Free entry. THC: www.myspace.com/taipeihiphopcrew.
Stereo Fridays at Ageha, B1, 171 Songde Road Taipei City, (台北市信義區松德路171號B1). Tonight from 10pm until 4am. NT$600 all night. For two-for-one VIP entry before 12:30am e-mail Megan at junior.and.megan[at]gmail.com.
Scott Saulters wasn’t sure if his film had just taken one of the two top prizes at a recent film competition. Although Saulters has been in Taiwan for 15 years and is proficient in Mandarin, the award ceremony for the inaugural “Bi Tian Iann” (眯電影) short film contest was conducted entirely in Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese), a language he can’t speak. “I thought I heard it, but I didn’t want to look too excited,” he says. Despite his limited command of the tongue, Saulter’s entry, Wu Yu Tzu (烏魚子, mullet roe), took first place in the amateur category of the
Since its launch in 2014, the Taiwan Season has increasingly become a “must-see” at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. So, when this year’s three-week Fringe became an early casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Chen Pin-chuan (陳斌全) was determined that the Taiwan Season must continue in some form. Chen, director of the Cultural Division of the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, says that he and Taiwan Season curator and producer Yeh Jih-wen (葉紀紋) had been thinking of ways of growing and adding value to the season anyway. The crisis and the cancellation of the live performances brought those ideas forward as
The Taiwan of yesteryear was dominated in whole or in part by the Dutch, Spanish, Qing Empire and Japanese. But is the Taiwanese name for a popular edible fish derived from the Portuguese language? Cheng Wei-chung (鄭維中), an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica’s Institute of Taiwan History, says yes. The fish in question is the narrow-barred Spanish mackerel, which was listed in early 18th century Qing local gazetteers as Taiwanese specialities alongside milk fish and mullet, according to Cheng’s paper, “Mullet, narrow-barred Spanish mackerel and milkfish: Multiple contextual developments of three certified seafood specilaities in Taiwan, from the
In the regular drumbeat of arrests of alleged Chinese spies, one case last month stood out. It did not involve the US or another rival of China, but Russia, whose security services accused a prominent arctic scientist of selling classified data on technologies for detecting submarines. Meanwhile a court in Kazakhstan in October convicted the Central Asia nation’s preeminent China specialist of espionage, a move widely interpreted at the time as a warning against increased meddling by the superpower next door. Both men maintain their innocence and if China is spying on Russia, Moscow is surely doing the same. Even so, the fact