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June 27, 2017

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Coming together in harmony

Few things have the power to inspire, heal and bring people together, But music is one of them; an art form that can be appreciated by people from different cultures and races.

This is the core value of the Daniel Pearl World Music Days (丹尼的音樂節), an international series of concerts that take place annually in more than 111 countries.

Taipei was one of the first cities to host such a concert, and beginning a few years ago — with the generous support of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT, 美國在台協會) — the event has grown dramatically in size and shape.

This year promises to be the biggest event yet, with two musical stages featuring 16 bands that cover a broad range of music styles ranging from jazz and blues to pop, punk and rock.

One of the most anticipated bands this year is We Save Strawberries, an early member of Taiwan's first wave of indie rock. Formed 15 years ago, this band's name is very deceptive as they are not your run of the mill pop group but a band that is more apt to generate a fiery "wall of sound" or a powerful backbeat. Many have characterized them as the first generation of Taiwan's post-rock scene, and members of the band have gone off to form other similar groups like Nylas.

Another outstanding group that will open the rock stage is Insecteens, featuring former one-man band Xiao-Bai. The latter is better known as the lead guitarist and vocalist for Sugar Plum Ferry, another popular post-rock band in Taiwan. Insecteens will make an emotional, intensely personal performance that will definitely inspire the crowd.

Other highlights include 88 Guava Seeds, who play a local version of rockabilly music with a very hard edge. There is also newcomer Blind Acid Date, led by Nathan Javens, who are a dance-groove rock band sure to benefit from the big stage and the outdoor venue.

In addition to rock, there is the adjacent world stage which will feature bands ranging from Cumbia to jazz and event Balkan music. Did we mention there will also be Gypsy music?

Equally important to the musical offerings are the variety of community-inspired stalls that will be part of the festival. These include an organization raising awareness and funds for stray animals, a second-hand clothing shop, local record companies and even a group doing henna painting.

If this sounds like it might take the energy out of you then don't worry — there will be a number of stalls selling food and drink, such as Sababa, Macho Tacos, Chex Bix, Delicious Taipei, Green Hornet and Out of India. Each stall will sell a tasty sampling offered at their local restaurant, giving all audience members an international taste.

And perhaps the biggest attraction of all is simply the audience, a group of open-minded people who share the Daniel Pearl Foundation's core values of racial tolerance and "Harmony for Humanity."

If this doesn't sound appetizing enough, we should mention that the Taipei Hakka Cultural Park is a centrally located spot just minutes from Shida Road and offers a wide expanse of grass and trees. Even a rice paddy, creek and vegetable garden have been created for educational purposes. It's a great place to take the kids and the family and enjoy some lively music in an outdoor setting.

'Daniel Pearl Day of Music' (丹尼的音樂節) ► From 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 20 (Sat.) / Taipei Hakka Cultural Park (客家文化中心) / No. 2 Sec. 3 Tingzhou Rd., Taipei (臺北市中正區汀州路三段2號) — a 5-minute walk from Taipower MRT station / Free admission / For more information please visit the event's website at

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