Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Greetings From Taiwan

I'm writing this as a monsoon is sweeping through Taipei. Which basically means some serious rain, but nothing too serious.

Unlike a 17-hour plane ride, which is very serious to me. The last time I came here, the plane flew INTO a monsoon. But this time, I prepared a mix of red wine, xanax (a mild dose) and my new favorite band, mew .

After arriving, one of the first things we did was visit Vera's grandma ("Ama",) who lives about and an hour and a half south of Taipei. It was nice to see the love.

Vera and I have spent a good deal of time with Mama Tang and Mao Goo, who is Vera's nephew (first picture.) The three of us, along with Vera's aunt, visited a temple nestled in the hills outside of Taipei.

There was also a small village at the foot of the temple.

In the village, we ate some delicious organic treats from a small shop that displayed their different herbs and spices.

Later that evening, Mao Goo, Vera and I met up with my friend Pei Pei, who I haven't seen since college.

Pei Pei is a dancer/choreographer and we're going to be working on two pieces together while I'm here. On that night, we were greeted by a robot.

Then the four of us entered a former leper hospital (yep) and watched a concert sponsored by a worker's rights organization. The featured band, Black Hand Nakasi, performed songs that they had written in collaboration with worker's associations throughout Taiwan.

"Black Hand" is a taiwanese derogatory term for the working class, as in people who get their hands dirty. The band appear to be reclaiming this term as a title of empowerment. And from what I could gather, this concert was part of a larger organized labor movement. Maybe the first in Taiwan. As part of this movement, Black hand Nakasi apparently operate as an electric folk act "of the people," in the same way that Woody Gutherie and Paul Robeson were the voices for the American labor movement in the 1930s and 1940s. I know this sounds like liner notes to a Folkways cd, but it's pretty interesting stuff.

So back to the family...Vera, Mao Goo and I also took a trip into the city and spent the day with Papa Tang. Here he is putting Mao Goo in a sleeper hold.

After a few days, Vera's brother Kung-Pei and sister-in-law Pei-Rong arrived.

Now the whole family is here, which is great. I really like hanging out with everybody. But I'm feeling a little antsy about getting started on the music. Tommorrow is the first meeting with Pei Pei and her dancer, so things should settle in more. I've also been trying to settle some loose ends in NYC. In brief, the name Shaka Zulu Overdrive has been changed to Red Lights to Rio. We have a new bass player from Argentina but now need a new lead guitartist. Suggestions are welcome. Phew.

But I'm trying to get "into" Taiwan, so I'll leave you with some more pics:

1 comment:

功培 said...

Kungpei is back to Taiwan.