TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The five-day Hear Here (半島歌謠祭) music festival, featuring Japanese musician Natsukawa Rimi and a fashion show by Daniel Wong, kicked off in Pingtung County on Oct. 12.
Artistic collective Launcher Lab organized Hear Here, which puts a modern spin on traditional folk songs and features more than 10 musical acts, plus a folk-singing competition open to all ages. Taiwanese bands Lilium, Outlet Drift and Folk Tank all debuted at the event.
On Saturday evening (October 15), fashion designer Daniel Wong transformed the 48-meter-long north wall of Hengchun Old Town into a runway where he launched a series of collections inspired by the ocean, wind and the traditional folk songs of the region. . He also selected 30 residents as models, including skateboarders, surfers and bartenders.
After three years, Okinawa-born singer Natsukawa also returned to Taiwan with her track “Nada Soso.” She also sang the Taiwanese song “Rainy Night Flower” with traditional old school artists.
According to the organizer, more than 10,000 people attended the event, which is the largest in its history.
Daniel Wong launches a fashion show at the Hengchun Township National Monument. (Taiwan News, photo by Lyla Liu)
Hear Here features live musical performances and a fashion show. (Taiwan News, photo by Lyla Liu)
When asked about the singing competition, Natsukawa said she was surprised that the contestants changed the lyrics according to their mood, which brought the classic songs to life. “Folk music is part of people’s lives and will always coexist with us.”
Launcher Lab founder and event organizer Jason Chang (張彥頡) has been hosting the festival for five years now. Chang said he was glad Natsukawa was able to participate, also adding that Natsukawa said he was amazed that Hengchun is so actively preserving traditional culture.
Chang said traditional folk songs aren’t always very entertaining to watch because it’s the kind of music that asks the audience to listen quietly. He noted that it was quite difficult to organize an eye-catching festival like Hear Here.
“When we try to creatively reproduce old folk songs, some older artists may feel lost. Therefore, at the event, we mixed pop music performances and traditional performances because we respect them all,” Chang said.
Chang pointed out that, from children to the elderly, they all have a stage to show off their musical talents. “That’s the attitude of a music festival! From this year, the event aims to go global and work with international agencies.
Crowds await Natsukawa Rimi. (Taiwan News, photo by Lyla Liu)
Natsukawa, Pingtung County Magistrate Pan Men-an, and senior traditional art curators (back) perform on stage. (Taiwan News, photo by Lyla Liu)