On Friday night at Legacy Taipei, Singaporean singer/songwriter Tanya Chua (蔡健雅) performed a mini concert titled Je T’ai Manque (I miss you) in which she shared her new celebratory philosophy about life.
Chua mostly sang numbers from her latest album If You See Him (若你碰到他) released last August, performing only four songs from her preceding body of work.
Clad in a simple white T-shirt and a pair of black pants, Chua greeted her fans in French. She has spent every February in Paris over the past four years, learning the language.
To echo the theme of the evening, she performed the French song Que Reste-T-il De Nos Amours? (What is left of our love?). Ever a cosmopolitan girl, she delivered this chanson of ambiance with aplomb.
Chua went on to perform her newest composition, You Come to My Head, a song included in the sound track of the gangster blockbuster Monga (艋舺). She delivered the jazzy tune in such intimate, whispery vocals that she sounded as if she were confessing her inner feelings to close friends.
Blessed with an astoundingly emotive voice, Chua is that rare singer who, when she sings, all traces of her technique become invisible. When her voice soars, the aching outcry of love’s turmoil is easily felt.
“I am tired of all those sad love songs of the past. I think I was too dark and prone to dejection before,” Chua said. “I think we all need to feel warm sometimes. I want to become ... more positive.”
She went on to sing Only Love from the recent album. “This is my first song to celebrate the joy of love,” she said.
As a Mando-pop poetess who draws on the travails and treacheries of love, Chua is known for songs full of melancholic metaphors, with titles such as Endless Hole (無底洞) and Amnesia (失憶症). Of late, Chua has learned to rejoice in the sunnier aspects of romance.
The highlight of the evening came when Chua performed her popular classic Reminiscence (紀念), whose lyrics were penned by Yao Chien (姚謙).
“I scolded him [Yao] when we dined together the other night,” Chua said, laughing. “I cried, ‘why did you write such heartbreaking lyrics?’”
“Longing becomes a line, spreading across time, becoming long enough to cut the world into two halves,” Chua sang. “At that moment, you suddenly realize love and longing are ... reminiscences.”
Chua went on to sing three songs from her recent album before revisiting another classic.
“I have sung this song so many times,” Chua said. “If I want to sing this again, I have to rearrange it.” And then she delivered a rock rendition of Beautiful Love with pounding guitar chords.
She ended the evening with How Much (多少), a song she wrote for Hong Kong star Eason Chan (陳奕迅). For the encore, Chua performed her award-winning single Darwin (達爾文).
Though only 90 minutes long, what her concert lacked in time, she more than made up for with her heartfelt and affecting delivery.
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