Fri, Oct 03, 2014 - Page 11 News List

Live Wire: Techno geeks and remembering a fallen comrade

By David Frazier  /  Contributing reporter

Dread Rider frontman Sherwyne Pereira put on a stellar performance at the Daniel Pearl Day of Music last weekend.

Photo courtesy of Kevin Liao

Last weekend saw more than 4,000 people turn out to the grassy lawns of the Hakka Cultural Park for Taipei’s 12th annual Daniel Pearl Day of Music, according to organizer estimates. A big musical highlight was the Idan Raichel Project, a world music group from Israel now touring through Asia. It would have been even better had Idan Raichel himself been there, but the singer-producer was called away at the last minute to perform on New York’s Summer Stage with R&B star Alicia Keys, making this the only show on the Asia tour that he missed.

Still, Raichel’s backing band was on point. The group is a rare project for regional harmony, blending musicians from the Israel, Yemen and Africa, creating a unique hybrid of Eastern European gypsy music (many Israelis have Eastern European roots) and the desert music of the Arabs and northeast Africa. The show stealer was singer Cabra Casey, an Ethiopian born in a refugee camp in Sudan.

The Idan Raichel Project is very much in the spirit of Daniel Pearl Day, an event that now includes hundreds of concerts all around the world to commemorate journalist Daniel Pearl, who was killed by terrorists in 2002. Pearl’s family started the concert series hoping to use music as a means of achieving cross-cultural harmony.

Among the “local” bands — in the spirit of the event, most groups feature some international element or overseas musicians — Dread Rider hit its normal level of amazing. Every time I see them, I cannot help but wonder, what is a world-class reggae band doing in Taiwan? Trinidadian lead singer Sherwyne Pereira is the most magnetic frontman on the island, but he is such an exotic flavor, that local Taiwanese audiences have no idea what to do with him. As such, Dread Rider remains one of the most under-appreciated bands around.


Held for the third year, On Site (混種現場) is a festival for technology inflected music, from math rock to noise to sound art. It opened last weekend at the Huashan Grasslands with a heavily equipped stage, full of projection screens and all sorts of technological effects. Around 1,000 were in attendance, say organizers at Taipei Artist Village. It winds up tonight and tomorrow with free events at Taipei Artist Village and Treasure Hill.

This weekend’s affair will be more humble — indoor concerts by various ensembles of techno-geeks. Tonight’s show will feature local noise artist Want Fu-jui (王福瑞) and ambient electronica from the local project Gravity Alterstra, who are teaming up with the spastic Hong Kongese guitar player in Junk (帆人), Chen Guan-min (陳官民). The most intriguing performer on the bill is Japan’s Fuyama Yousuke, who uses biological data to generate sounds. Coming to Taiwan for the second year in a row, he has built what he calls a “functional electrical stimulation device” which somehow connects to the human nervous system and translates impulses into sounds. This takes place tonight from 7pm at Taipei Artist Village (台北國際藝術村幽竹廳) in the Bamboo Room, located at 7 Beiping E Rd, Taipei (台北市北平東路7號).

Tomorrow’s event will feature yet more noise and experimental sounds that are generated from laptops and esoteric gadgets. The lineup includes 8-Bit electronica artists Physical Chemical Brothers (理化兄弟), Zheng Nai-quan (鄭乃銓), Dino, OTIC and Singaporean Dennis Tan in collaboration with Taiwanese Mei Hsin-yi (梅心怡). That takes place from 3pm at Treasure Hill Artist Village (寶藏巖國際藝術村), 2, Ln 14, Alley 230, Dingzhou Rd, Sec 3, Taipei City (台北市汀州路三段230巷14弄2號).

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