Let Us Sing Mountain Songs

Let Us Sing Mountain Songs

Product Description

The Labor Exchange Band are a rare beast in Taiwan. Hakka Chinese (one of the Chinese minority groups in Taiwan) who while influenced by western music, draw heavily on their own fascinating music traditions and add elements of other Chinese, Taiwanese opera and aboriginal music to create something accessible and ingenious. Whether traditional or their own compositions, the songs stand up well, drawing the listener in with a passion universally understood even if the words are not. The main accompaniment is a guitar (albeit a Chinese moon one, or 'yuqin') and most songs follow a western chord progression, but it's the added Chinese flat drums and most of all, the Souna Reed horn that give their sound that unique edge.'Let Us Sing Mountain Songs' marks not only their debut but is the origin of the band itself. Vocalist and composer, Lin Shenghsiang is from Meinung, a village in the mountainous county of Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. While living in Taipei he heard about some older residents from the village who had come to the capital, Taipei, to protest the building of a dam that would have destroyed their livelihood in agriculture and their property. The old people sang traditional mountain songs in protest, and Lin, at first largely ignorant of the situation, formed a band to support the Meinung anti-dam movement. The Labor Exchange Band reworked those traditional songs, ("Here Below the Meinung Mountains"), wrote their own, ("Anti-Dam song"), and sung others which originated from the aboriginal people who inhabit the same area, ( "Half Mountain Song"). Another, "So Let's Sing Mountain Songs" includes a recording of a speech by the organizer of the protesters, Chung Hsiumei. And the story has a happy ending too; plans for the dam were abandoned when funds to build it were cut from the budget.