TAIPEI DANCE: DISCO/POP/EARLY MILLENIUM

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INTRO

What came first - music or dance? I used to think dance was just a reaction to music but now I believe dance is much more inherent to human nature. To dance is to move: it's the way the neck bends while laughing, the shake of the head as we sob, the arch of the back during lovemaking. Dance was created once we decided to put intent behind these daily motions. As ancient as dance is, ultimately music is just as ancient. I don't think there was ever a time that music and dance did not coexist together. It's a true partnership and I believe that human spirituality and worship were first created when music and dance came together.

My most spiritual experience with dance came in the form of Taiwan's dianzi huache or "electronic flower trucks." These small trucks are usually garishly decorated and come with large speakers blasting EDM and a pole for people to dance upon. To dance on this truck is to give a direct offering to the gods. It's worship. During this past mid-autumn festival I gave my own offering at a random outdoor BBQ party in Hualien. Powered by free alcohol, the full moon, and a sense of chaos I got on the back of a dianzi huache and offered my best dance to the gods. That night swinging around that pole dancing in front of strangers time stood still - all that was left was the music, the moon, my body, and Taiwan.

If I had another chance to dance on a dianzi huache, I'd want my TAIPEI DANCE mix to be playing in the background. It's a personal take on the dance blueprint of Taiwan. It starts off with disco and ends with trance, club, and early electronic pop. I hope that everyone who listens can put aside an hour to just let go and dance.

MIX HIGHLIGHTS

Frankie Kao (高凌風) - Summer Kisses, Winter Tears (多少柔情多少淚)

Frankie Kao was an eccentric singer from Taiwan who was also nicknamed the "The Frog Prince" for his short neck. When performing he was always surrounded by two dancing women "Azhu" and "Ahua." Frankie Kao knew how to put on a show and at his peak was paid NT $240,000 for a performance.

Frankie Kao was one of the earliest disco singers in Taiwan and was particularly well known for covering American songs that were less well known and sometimes censored in Taiwan. By using covers he was able to influence popular Taiwanese music and culture. Although he started in disco Frankie was adaptable and moved on to create electronic dance music and pop as well.

The track "Summer Kisses, Winter Tears" is actually a cover of Elvis Presley and was a widely covered song in Asia. I decided to translate the lyrics to english because the original Elvis Presely lyrics are almost completely different than the ones Frankie sings in Chinese. Frankie's version is much more poignant, a beautiful song about how one cannot go back in time.

多少柔情多少淚
往事如煙去不回
想起過去多少歡樂
如今已隨流水

Such tenderness, such tears
You can't return to the past
Thinking of those happy days
Today the water continues to flow

多少柔情多少淚
良辰美景去不回
剩下一片迷離夢境
夢醒時更悲哀

Such tenderness, such tears
You can't return to a beautiful scene
All that's left is a blurred dream
Tomorrow I'll wake with more worries

愛情的夢 愛情的夢
如今已消逝
愛情的花 愛情的花
如今已枯萎

Love's dream, love's dream
It's now faded
Love's flower, love's flower
It's now withered

多少柔情多少淚
淚已流乾心已碎
長夜漫漫往事如煙
如今獨自沉醉

Such tenderness, such tears
Tears falling, feelings broken
Long nights disappear like smoke
Drinking alone tonight

Little Tigers (小虎隊 ) - Green Apple Paradise (青蘋果樂園)

Little Tigers are considered to be Taiwan's first official boy band and their first hit was the exuberant dance number "Green Apple Paradise." Formed in 1988 during the heyday of campus folk culture in Taiwan, Little Tigers was originally positioned as an imitation of Japanese idol groups and youth teams.

The three members of the band were Nicky Wu or "Thunder Tiger," Julian Chen "Handsome Tiger," and Alec Su "Well-behaved Tiger." After watching the music video for "Green Apple Paradise" multiple times I have to say my favorite tiger is Alec or "Well-behaved tiger."

Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕) - Dancing Kungfu Training (練舞功)

Jeannie Hsieh has a strong entertainment lineage. Her father Pig Ge Liang was a very famous performer in Taiwan's old variety style performances. A talented singer in her own right, Jeannie is notable in Taiwan dance culture for being one of the first artists to combine Taiwanese Hokkien with electronic dance / techno production.

The song "Dancing Kungfu Training" is just peak millenium dance. Jeannie really was able to take local Taiwanese culture and vernacular and bring it to the new millennium with her cheesy electronic production and flirtatious lyrics:

Please don't be shy
Steps can be forward and backward
Ohh Skirts are so short
Don't think too much, let's rotate to the music

DJ Jerry (羅百吉) - Fight (戰鬥)

DJ Jerry deserves to have an entire book written about his influence to Taiwanese music and culture. Born in Los Angeles as Jerry Lo, DJ Jerry was one of the first people in Taiwan to combine electronic music and hip-hop together. His hard trance production and parties really spawned a new generation of electronic music that peaked around 2005. He also worked as a producer for other electronic acts including The Shining Sisters also included in this mix.

The track "Fight" or "Fire" in some translations was one of the biggest hits of its time, especially with "Tai Ke" or very local Taiwanese culture. Entire clubs would go crazy when the track came on. I kind of see it as Taiwan's version of "Sandstorm."

Sonia Calico - Hougong Crash (後宮亂鬥)

Sonia Calico has long been a forerunner in the experimental and club scene in Taiwan. She runs the local label UnderU which showcases the best of new Taiwanese producers and also holds workshops to teach young producers in Taiwan how to make beats.

"Hougong Crash" is a forward-thinking dance track that combines ballroom and club with traditional asian themes and sounds. "Hougong" soap operas refer to the Chinese palace intrigue between courtesans and "Crash" references "ha crash" which is a large snare explosion often used in Ballroom music.

TRACKLIST:
Frankie Kao (高凌風) - Summer Kisses, Winter Tears (多少柔情多少淚)
Chen Qiong Mei (陳瓊美) - Beautiful Son-in-Law (美麗的女郞)
Liu Guan Lin (劉冠霖) - Fire
Luo Yan Li (駱豔麗) - Midnight Kiss (午夜香吻)
Huang Fei (黃妃) - Chase Chase Chase (追追追)
Bai Bing Bing (白冰冰) - Tonight's Party (今夜的Party)
Jessie (慕潔溪) - Night Cruise (夜間巡航)
Little Tigers (小虎隊 ) - Green Apple Paradise (青蘋果樂園)
Wu Bai 伍佰 & China Blue - You are my Flower Bouquet (妳是我的花朵)
Grasshopper (草蜢) - Baby I'm Sorry (寶貝對不起)
Shining Three Sisters (閃亮三姊妹) - Quickly Come and Date Me (快來快來約我)
China Dolls (中國娃娃) - Happy New Year (發福發財中國年)
Jeannie Hsieh (謝金燕) - Dancing Kungfu Training (練舞功)
Barbie (芭比) - Electric Shock (觸電)
Shining Three Sisters (閃亮三姊妹) - Give Me One Minute (給我幾秒鐘閃)
DJ Jerry (羅百吉) - Fight (戰鬥)
Guojabin 郭桂彬 - Black Grain Story (黑粒仔的故事) (Lujiachi Remix)
Sonia Calico - Hougong Crash (後宮亂鬥)
Lim Giong (林強) - 台東調

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