Fri, Apr 24, 2009 - Page 15 News List

Taipei’s reggae scene turns it up a notch

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Reggae in Taipei takes a break from the sound system and goes live with promoter Islandjam’s mini-festival of bands playing roots, rock steady, ska and dancehall tomorrow night at The Wall (這牆).

The event features seven bands, including headliners Miffer and Carib Rocks of Japan and up-and-coming local acts such as ska and rock steady band Skaraoke, expat roots group High Tide and vocalist Junior Alfa, an expat from Guinea.

Tomorrow’s show will be one of the biggest live reggae events ever held in Taipei, says DJ Taili, one of Islandjam’s organizers and a member of the Jamaican sound system Black Reign International Sound.

With Islandjam, Taili says he wants to bring more visibility to Taiwan’s small but growing reggae scene and to “take it out of the underground.”

His strategy for the event is to give exposure to newer local artists like singers Sunny Smalls and Ice, and to present experienced, professional musicians that “put on a good show.” For such performers, Taili and Islandjam looked to Japan, which has an active scene and where reggae is huge industry.

Taili says he’s confident that Miffer, a popular reggae singer in Japan, will inspire audiences. She sings most of her songs in Japanese and a variety of styles, from roots to the electronic-laced sounds of dancehall. Her impressive vocal range and tight, polished sound can be sampled on her MySpace page.

Miffer will be backed by Tokyo-based band Carib Rocks, which plays rock steady — a classic reggae style originally marked by vocal harmonies — among other versions of the genre.

Carib Rocks writes and performs their own songs, which comprise half of their live sets, says bassist and singer Tori Takashi. The band has some novel cover tunes in its repertoire, including a reggae-techno version of French composer Erik Satie’s Gymnopedies No. 1 and the Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows.

PERFORMANCE NOTES:

WHAT: Islandjam Live Reggae concert with Carib Rock, Miffer, DJs Yahman and Big H of Japan, and Skaraoke, Ice, Sunny Smalls, High Tide, Junior Alfa and Jamaican sound system Black Reign International Sound

WHEN: Tomorrow from 10:30pm until late

WHERE: The Wall (這牆), B1, 200, Roosevelt Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市羅斯福路四段200號B1). Call (02) 2930-0162 or visit www.thewall.com.tw

ON THE NET: www.myspace.com/taili9, www.caribrocks.net, www.myspace.com/miffermiffermiffer

ADMISSION: Tickets are NT$400 at the door and include one drink


Even though live music is the focus tomorrow, selectors from Black Reign International will spin tunes between band sets. Joining them will be Japanese DJs Yahman and Big H, who are credited with helping popularize reggae in Japan in the 1970s, according to Taili.

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