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* aural cavity located on the sides of the head for insertion of local music scene
The COMPASS Group, November 2005

Taipei Gets the Blues

By Courtney Donovan Smith Translated by Chou NaiXien

Finally! Although the music scene in Taiwan has exploded in recent years, so far Taiwan has only had one international Blues festival: Blues Bash I in Taichung, held earlier this year (and partly sponsored by our sister publication, the COMPASS). Now, this November, the Blues comes to Taipei.

Music festivals for rock, jazz, punk and classical have mushroomed around the island with big sponsors and governments all jumping on the bandwagon-but not the blues. Thanks to the small, underfunded but doughty Blues Society on Taiwan, we've finally got festivals for one of the most important music genres of all.

The blues is the progenitor of most modern popular music styles, including rock and jazz. In spite of its familiar and easily accessable style, many people remain unsure of precisely what it is, thinking perhaps of the cook in South Park. Put very crudely, rock is about energy and power, while jazz is about skill. Blues, however, is about communicating emotion. That doesn't mean sad or melancholy by any means; many of the performers at Blues Bash II will knock your socks off with a rollicking good-time sounds.

This event is blessed with two great international acts. The headliner is Shun Kikuta, the Japanese-born guitarist for the "Queen of the Blues", Koko Taylor. Gabriel Gratzer, represents Country Blues from Argentinian scene (no, the Blues is not just American!).
Even more impressive to this reviewer is that there are six locally developed talents performing, up from basically nothing a few years ago. Taichung powerhouse Boogie Chillin' is up for the event with their thumpin', pumpin', knock 'em dead sound. Taipei local favourites include the classic bluesmen of David Chen & the Muddy Basin Ramblers and Chicago Blues representatives BoPoMoFo (which includes the former host of ICRT's 'Blues Power Hour' show and President of the Blues Society, DC Rapier). Fusing Aboriginal spirit with the Blues is Stevie Ray and Black Sheep. Newcomers The Beaver County Rangers and Les Chats Noir (from Taichung) bring in backwoods sounds and New Orleans influenced R&B, respectively.

If you are a fan of the Blues, you must go. If you aren't familiar with the Blues...well, then, you're in for a real treat!
Where: Breeze Center Plaza, Taipei
When: 12 p.m.-9 p.m., Saturday, November 5
More: http://www.bsot-bluesbash.info

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