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Samingad/Wild Fire, Spring Wind/Magic Stone

This is the second release for this aboriginal singer from the Puyuma tribe. Samingad is well-known in Taiwan for her powerful voice. On this album, about half of the tracks are in the Puyuma language, and include traditional songs as well as more contemporary numbers. The remaining half of the album is in Mandarin. No matter whether you can understand the words or not, the emotion with which Samingad sings each song will move and uplift you. But, it is the beauty of her voice that will make you put away the cares of the day just to stop and listen. To learn more about Samingad herself, see this month's In Yer Ear feature.--By Cheryl Robbins

Wu Bai & China Blue/Dream River/Rock Records

Wu Bai is one of Taiwan's veteran rockers. On this latest Mandarin release, he wrote the music and lyrics and takes charge of the vocals and guitar. Some of the songs, such as "Road" and "9 Heaven", are hard-driving rock 'n' roll meant to get you up and dancing. The track "Snake" tends toward psychedelic rock and has more of a haunting melody. Title track "Dream River" is a rock ballad. On another ballad, "Just A Little", the heavy saxophone adds a little sadness, while the seemingly spontaneous back-up vocals add a little humor. All in all, there is something for every Wu Bai fan.--By Cheryl Robbins


Firefly Piano Solo/Days in a Green Hill/Wind

Wind Records has become well-known for its emphasis on nature. This album is one of its latest releases to feature a mix of instrumental music and sounds from nature. "Days in a Green Hill" describes the composer's experience of living in and being surrounded by nature. The composer takes us into personal life experiences and allows us to almost "see" the beautiful surroundings. With the addition of natural sound effects, this is the musical equivalent of an Impressionist painting that presents a scene in an understandable but slightly distorted way. This is a CD for those looking to enter into a relaxed, leisurely and carefree state of mind.--By Little Ann


The Legendary Jazz Divas 3/Jingo.

This new release, distributed by Wind Records, combines instrumental music with the sounds of nature. The music is soft and flows and dances like reeds in a slow-moving river. This is mixed with whale calls both loud and faint depending on the distance at which they were recorded. Dutch composer Gregor Theelen and a recording engineer spent months at sea, following whale pods and recording their sounds. The result is 15 tracks that reveal the expansiveness and freedom of nature. Gregor Theelen was born into a family of musicians and his accomplishments include composing songs for movies and musicals.--By Rachel Chiou



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