Thu, Jun 06, 2019 - Page 14 News List

A Moving Sound keeps moving forward

With new material, some free concerts in Taiwan in the coming months and several dates confirmed for a North American tour next spring, Mia Hsieh and Scott Prairie are excited about their group’s future

By Diane Baker  /  Staff reporter

A Moving Sound will give a free concert on Sunday afternoon at the Tamsui Library Concert Hall in Tamsui District, New Taipei City.

Photo courtesy of A Moving Sound

The music of A Moving Sound (AMS, 聲動樂團), one of Taiwan’s best-known contributions to the World Music scene, sounds as fresh and unique as it did when I first saw the group perform at The Wall in Taipei many years ago, so it comes as a shock to realize the band is 18 years old and going stronger than ever.

The exact age was the subject of a brief, spirited debate between founders Mia Hsieh (謝韻雅) and Scott Prairie during a video chat last week, after I said that they were coming up on their 20th anniversary.

Prairie said it was only 19 years, and after a bit of back and forth between them, Hsieh declared it was 18.

“We are an old boat, but we have new energy,” Hsieh said with a laugh.

The reason for the chat was the two free concerts the group will give in New Taipei City, one this weekend at the Tamsui Library, and one next month at the New Taipei City Xinzhuang Culture and Arts Center.

While Prairie and Hsieh remain the heart and soul of the group, the line-up of the other members has changed over the years amid competing demands for the talents of traditional musicians and percussionists, or a need to find more stable jobs.

From percussionist Alex Wu (吳政君), Lo Tang-hsuan (羅堂軒), Hsieh Hua-chou (謝華洲) and Wang Pei-chun (王珮君) in the early years to Pan I-tung (潘宜彤) on the zhongruan, Chen I-fang (陳依芳) on the erhu and percussionist Yeh Po-tsen (葉柏岑), the line-up has remained flexible, as have the instruments they play.

Chen Chih-ling (陳芷翎), who, along with Scott, plays the zhongruan as well as the liuqin, Chung Yu-jui (鍾於叡) on the erhu and percussionist Chen Yu-hsin (陳淯歆) have been playing with group for a few years now.

“It’s evolution, we can literally be the parents of the new people,” Prairie said, prompting laughter from Hsieh.

Performance Notes

WHAT: A Moving Sound

WHEN: Sunday at 2pm

WHERE: Tamsui Library Concert Hall (淡水圖書館演藝廳). 65, Wenhua Rd, Tamsui District, New Taipei City (新北市淡水區文化路65號)


ADDITIONAL PERFORMANCE: July 20 at 7:30pm at the New Taipei City Xinzhuang Culture and Arts Center (新莊文化藝術中心演藝廳), 133, Jhongping Rd, Sinjhuang District, New Taipei City (新北市新莊區中平路133號)

My question about how they found new collaborators brought more laughter.

Prairie said the traditional musician circle is not that huge, so they usually get referrals.

He said the group is doing the best it ever has internationally, adding “it’s taking off.”

“We have gotten a new manager — Sue Bernstein of Bernstein Artists in New York — we have been trying to get her for six or seven years. She’s got the perfect roster — hybrids, evolutions of culture,” he said.

He credits the group being picked for one of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals showcases in 2017, noting that the association’s showcases are really hard to get into.

“We got into two of the showcases, so that launched us, we got some more shows and we got this agent,” he said.

Bertstein has already lined up dates next spring for them at the Eastman School, Symphony Space in Manhattan, the University of Texas Dallas and Lawrence University.

Normally the group tours internationally in the fall, but they will be staying in Taiwan for the next few months instead, including a performance on Sept. 8 at the Taoyuan Land Art Festival (桃園地景藝術節).

Prairie said they are in “a shift mode.”

“We are taking this time to do more creative work, Hsieh said. “It has been a long journey.”

While Hsieh credits Prairie for all the promotion work for the group over the years, he credits her for most of their new music.

“In the past, I created the foundations and then the others added layers ... but now she is doing most of it,” he said.

Hsieh said her vocals have change from more abstract to using more Chinese and Taiwanese and the focus is more on connections with Taiwan. They have also become more earthy, she said.

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