“If I’m lucky, I still have the time to take a breath and have something to eat before the doors open,” he said.
Migration has seen a number of changes through its past nine editions (Though launched in 2001, the event went on hiatus in 2002 and 2010). The festival used to be one of the more highly anticipated autumn events in Taipei, as it used to be held free of charge outdoors at the Da-an Park amphitheater every October, attracting full capacity crowds. But several years of bad weather compelled organizers to move indoors to Zhongshan Hall in 2008 and charge ticketing fees to cover costs.
Since then, attendance has dipped and the audience has shrunk down to a smaller number of die-hard music fans willing to pay for tickets. Still, those who do show up have generally shown an appreciation for the venue, which has a second floor ballroom that seats around 300 and a large auditorium seating 1,200 persons (though neither have been filled to capacity since Migration moved to Zhongshan Hall).
Although Migration hosts fewer large ensembles due to declining sponsorship and rising travel costs, Stoll says the festival remains Taiwan’s best for “open-minded listeners.” And he never expected to be coming back nearly a decade later.
“When I came here for the first time, I was sure it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” he said. “Now the festival is annually one of my favorite jobs.”
■ 7:30 Labyrinth Project
Music from Crete, Greece, led by several Cretans and UK-born multi-instrumentalist Ross Daly
■ 8:40 Labyrinth Project with Taipei Chinese Orchestra
A collaboration fusing traditional Greek folk music with traditional Chinese music
■ 2:30pm Bijan Chemiriani
The French-Iranian percussionist, part of the father-sons percussion troupe The Chemiriani Trio, returns to Taipei for a special solo performance
■ 4:30pm Habib Koite
The acclaimed Malian musician draws from the griot tradition and a unique guitar style that draws from desert blues and even flamenco
■ 7:30pm Takashi Hirayasu
This Okinawan musician, regarded as a legend in Japan, pioneered a new style of rock based on his island-home’s traditional folk music
■ 8:30pm Panai and Message
One of Taiwan’s more passionate singer-songwriters, Panai blends social activism, Aboriginal pride into her self-styled confessional folk music
■ 2:30pm Sameer Makhoul, Chung Yufeng and Ramesh Shotan
A cross-country collaboration featuring an oud player from the Middle East, a pipa player from Taiwan and a percussionist from India
■ 3:30pm Ross Daly Ensemble
Greek music maven Ross Daly leads his ensemble through “modal” explorations
■ 7:30pm Habib Koite and friends
Mali meets Okinawa, as Koite and Takashi Hirayasu engage in an improvised collaboration, along with other participating musicians
■ 8:40pm Ramzailech
A young and talented group of Israelis who perform traditional klezmer with a twist of jazz and industrial rock