Listen to the songs of the wanderer
By Sean Scanlan, Special to The China Post
September 28, 2012, 5:25 pm TWN
The 10th Migration Music Festival (流浪之歌音樂節) gets underway this weekend bringing musicians and performers from virtually every corner of the Earth. The theme of this year's festival is "Gathering on the Road," an impromptu intersection where music and art can transcend borders and cultures.
This year's visiting musicians come from Greece, India, Israel, Palestine, Iran, West Africa, Japan and Taiwan. While many visiting performers will make their debut in Taiwan, a few are familiar faces like Habib Koité from Mali whose guitar work and clear voice leave audiences spellbound.
Koité's performance at the previous Migration Festival was spellbinding as the entire audience of 300-400 people in Zhongshan Hall were enraptured by his positive vibes and the uplifting nature of his music. He was also an accomplished story teller, conveying meaningful lessons from Mali where the sun always shines and people are grateful for the simplest gifts.
"One of the highlights this year is collaboration between Koité and master Okinawan folk musician Takashi Hirayasu," Migration publicist Lan Yu-zhen told The China Post.
She added that this performance will be a first for the two musicians, and believes that interaction between artists and musicians is one of the most important aspects of this year's festival.
Another highlight is the Labyrinth Project from Greece led by Ross Daly. The project is actually the creation of a musical space where people from different cultures can come together and explore new creative possibilities.
In association with this group, a series of free, 20-minute performances will be held in various spaces around Zhongshan Hall. This is intended to allow the public to directly interact with visiting musicians performing a variety of different instruments such as the talking drum, oud, mouth harp and Greek lyra.
Other free events include a variety of workshops that will begin next Monday at National Chengchi University. Each workshop is conveniently scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., allowing both students and office workers easy access to these events.
As for the other performances at this year's Migration Music Festival, they will require either a festival pass or individual ticket for entrance. Most of the ticketed performances will take place next weekend, Oct. 5-7, including top draws like Habib Koité.
Still, audiences should not miss out on other performers such as Ramesh Shotham, an Indian drummer and percussionist; Kelly Thoma, an expert on the Greek lyra; or Giorgos Manolakis, a virtuoso on the laouto, a type of long-necked lute.
For more complete schedule information as well as ticketing policies, please visit the festival's website at http://www.treesmusic.com/festival/2012mmf/index.html. ■
'Migration Music Festival' (流浪之歌音樂節) ► From Sept. 29 (Sat.) to Oct. 7 (Sun.) / Zhongshan Hall (臺北市中山堂) / No. 98 Yanping S. Rd., Taipei (臺北市延平南路98號) / Festival Pass NT$1,500, Individual Performance NT$500
Habib Koité, a Malian singer-songwriter and guitarist, sings in the spotlight with his guitar, leaving audiences utterly spellbound. (Courtesy of Migration Music Festival)