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Funky World

by on Thursday, 01 September 2011 Comments

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Usi AJ  (Photo courtesy of Morris Tsai)

When a little birdie told me about the Renlai World Music concert at TienEducationCenter on August 19, I felt that as a citizen of the world, I should be experiencing all kinds of music.

And it was free and I had a hot date.

In my mind, world music is a conglomerate of pony-tailed musicians wearing baggy-clothes sitting around on pillows cross-legged playing sitars and didgeridoos.

What I found at the concert was that, but also much more.

Walking in a bit late, I missed Hu Lia, which I heard were good. The church auditorium turned into a concert hall was standing room only as the packed house of world music fans were enthralled with the sounds going on in the front.

The band playing was Coromandel Express and they had a sitar player, a vocalist, and two percussionists. The sounds were soothing to the ears as the flute and kanjira did a duet. Soon the kanjira and the tabla were battling each other to end their set.

At the intermission, I got to look around and realized that world music attracts a lot of gypsies. I may sometimes make jokes about gypsy pants or bracelets, but these people are very open minded and love having a good time. I saw smiles all around and people were talking with the people close to them just because they were so friendly.

It was the vibe of the whole show that I'll remember the most.

The next band was ShantaaL, which basically replaced the kanjira player and the vocalist from the previous band, and added a new vocalist that could also play the fiddle. At first, she rapped from notecards which wasn't the most pleasing sound to the ears, but later she was doing some yodeling of a Japanese song about a harvest and that was much better.

After another short break, Usi AJ was up and there was a reason he was the headliner. With his back towards the audience, his percussion player stared the set with the rain stick.

Then it got funky.

Sitar funky!

People that were lined up on the sides of the auditorium started dancing around. The whole audience started clapping their hands. The sitar funk was exciting and engaging. A bass player and a didgeridoo player joined the mix. The people on the side dancing moved to the front and the crowd started bobbing their heads with the band. Usi AJ turned the otherwise very chilled out concert into a party.

Overall, the Renlai World Music Concert was something different than I have ever experienced in Taiwan. But yet it was somehow familiar.

And even a little bit funky.

I know I'll be attending the next one, with a jazzy vibe, on Sept 16th*.

* For more info about the Renlai concert on Sept 16th, click here.

Photos from August 19th concert by City Chen




Video filmed and edited by Pinti Zheng

Marcus Aurelius

DJ-Writer-Deep Thinker-Professor of Funk

Website: www.waakao.com
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