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May 28, 2017

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Danish Pop trio 'Michael' ready to woo Taipei

The Danish pop trio Michael Learns to Rock yesterday held a press preview for their upcoming Taipei concerts, promising fans their most famous English-language songs, at least two new numbers from an upcoming live album to be released later this year, and a surprise appearance from a local singer.

The pair of shows mark the band's return engagement to Taiwan after an absence of 12 years. The trio was formed in the late 1980s and consists of lead singer and keyboardist Jascha Richter, drummer Kare Wanscher and guitarist Mikkel Lentz. The three all expressed their appreciation for their Taiwan fans and said they looked forward to this weekend's concerts.

"What I remember about Taiwan is how great the audience is," Wanscher said. "We spent a lot of time here in the '90s, seeing fans and doing interviews. It's great to be back."

Wanscher promised both shows would feature Michael Learns to Rock's biggest hit in Asia, "Take Me to Your Heart," an English-language reworking of one of the greatest hits of Canto- and Mandopop singer Jacky Cheung, "Goodbye Kiss."

The version by Michael Learns to Rock has been downloaded some five million times in Asia, according to EMI Music Taiwan, the label that releases the band's music here.

Before performing the song live for the press, Richter explained the history behind their most popular tune. "One of our friends from the record company in Hong Kong suggested that we should make this song. We listened to it in Chinese and liked the melody — so we wrote English lyrics to it. We've had tremendous success with this song during the last couple of years," Richter said.

Richter mentioned in passing that the band is currently reworking another Chinese tune for their next album, scheduled to hit stores in September, and hopes the new song strikes a chord with listeners. Perhaps more than any other Western band, Michael Learns to Rock has found a second home in Asia, where their records routinely top charts.

When asked why they're so popular in Taiwan, Lentz speculated, "Not the main reason, but one of the reasons for our success in Asia are the melodies — they're very harmonic, just like a lot of Asian pop music. We discovered that after coming here many times that there was some kind of similarity in the compositions."

After a pause to consider other reasons behind their success in Asia, Lentz jokingly added, "But it's still a mystery to us."

Michael Learns to Rock performs July 6 and 7 at 7:45 p.m. on both evenings at the Taipei International Convention Center. Ticket prices for the show range from NT$1000 to NT$4200. As of press time, tickets in all price ranges are still available. Tickets are sold at ERA outlets and online on its website,

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