Trees Music & Art was established in 1993, and up to now is a rare but significant independent brand that mainly produces world and folk music in Taiwan. It started with introducing mainstream music outside the Europe and American stage and promoted the works of modern artists who make efforts in continuing their tradition music, such as Ali Farka Toure, the African blues master, Oumou Sangre, the west African female representative and Joe Arroyo, the Salsa King of Colombia. Then Trees Music & Art expanded as a regional agent and cooperated with foreign companies to work up the typical and classical regional music pieces. The representatives include ¡§The Birkin Tree¡¨, the new folk of Celtic, and ¡§Double Life¡¨, the folk and rock songs from Finland. ¡§Buena Vista Social Club¡¨ of 1997 and ¡§Ibrahim Ferrer¡¨ of 1999, which won the best Latin Music in Grammy and was adapted in a documentary movie by German director, and its Cuban heat brought the appreciative criticism as well as broke the records in Taiwan non-mainstream market.
In the field of independent producing, ¡§A Night at the Chinese Opera¡¨ was released in 1996, which collects the best of Li Bao Chun¡¦s Chinese Opera. ¡§Betal Nuts¡¨ which collects and combines the music from New Guinea and Amis Tribe, was nominated for various titles of Golden Melody Award, which also received the recommendation form the ¡§Folk Roots¡¨, a connoisseur music magazine from Europe. ¡§BuraBuraYan¡¨, which was released in 2000, was based on traditional Amis tribe folk songs and recomposed with blues and rock rhythm. The combination of guitar and drums on the album outlines the grassroots spirit from the love for the land and human relations. ¡§BuraBuraYan¡¨ was strongly recommended by a Japanese music critique and dubbed as ¡§the song of nature and humanity.¡¨
Furthermore, Trees Music & Art is producing internationally. It doesn¡¦t limit itself in local Taiwan, but also does the recording in Europe, such as ¡§Trio¡¨ of Catherine Delasalle.
Trees Music & Art spares no effort in promoting world music. It is the first one in Taiwan to radio the voice of world music and dedicates itself to writing columns in the print media. It also occasionally publishes depth coverage of artist and music information. In 1998, it planned a world tour series for the Philharmonic Radio Taipei Co. Ltd., introducing folk songs in Thailand, Spain, German, Japan, England and Taiwan, and each program is dubbed in its own language. The series received wide applause from the audiences.
Trees Music & Art invites overseas artists to stage small concerts, which allowed music performers to come face to face with the audiences. It also expanded its scale of performance in 2000 to participate the first and the second world music festival and was greatly applauded. In October 2001, Trees Music & Art organized its first ¡§Migration Festival¡¨, which was themed on the migration and the activities included performances, discussions, seminars and the playing of documentary movies. Almost ten thousand people were participated in it three nights' concerts, which were all very successful.
Besides introducing excellent music from abroad, Trees Music & Art also led ¡§Labor Exchange Band¡¨(the best Hakaa folk / rock band in Taiwan) to Europe for a tour in 2001. The Europe tour project also won the recommendation from European critiques. In 2002, ¡§The Night March of Chrysanthemums¡¨ of Labor Exchange Band won nomination as the Best Group of pop music of Golden Melody Award. Labor Exchange Band gave the public a new topic to talk about since it beats another popular idol group May Day.
In 2002, Trees Music & Art held the first Asian Music Festival in FNAC Taipei, the French bookstore. The musicians from Japanese and Thailand gave the audience in Taiwan another chance to discover the beauty of Asian music.
Labor Exchange Band
¡EThe first Taiwanese folk band who greatly praised by the European critics.
¡EBest Composer and Best Producer of 11th Golden Melody Awards
With the splendor of ¡§Let Us Sing Mountain Songs¡¨ in 11th Golden Melody Awards, the Labor Exchange Band continued to their concert tour in Europe and was highly commended by the European influential bands. In 2001, the band who always improves themselves issued the new album, an piece of epic music, ¡§The Night March of Chrysanthemums¡¨. It talks about a rural young man who returns to his hometown, picks up husbandry and tries to reach some achievement from the agriculture under the inexorable stress from WTO. It depicts the reality of farming villages of the 90¡¦s, and for the first time, to express the frame of mind for the international brides.
In their composition, they attempt to create dynamic pictures by the sounds. They collect the live sounds, such as oxcart or whistle, and reproduce it as encircle/surrounding effects. Besides, they imitate the speeding sound of motorcycle with a suona horn, and extend the sounds through the whole album. Moreover, they put to good use of magic realistic style, such as moaning a road in funeral-oration like declamation of, and the lyrics that personified Chrysanthemums, successfully describing the transition of farming villages.
Urna was once asked when she practices singing? She answered without hesitation that she doesn¡¦t practice singing. Because she sings anytime and anywhere. Singing to Urna is like the prairie to Mongolia, it¡¦s an inborn nature. Having a wide range in her voice, she can sing over 4 octaves. Her variable facial expressions are sometimes as soft as moonlight, sometimes as powerful as the storm. Her particular neigh-like singing, which well represents the nomadism, gives the audience another surprise on listening.
Born in Inner Mongolia, the prairie folk songs Urna sings are mostly learnt from her parents and grandparents. Having a world music experimental band and working with international musicians, Urna explores the possibilities of music and at the same time keeps the Mongolian folk traditions that running in her bloods. After residence in Europe, she still travels back to the prairie very often to find her music inspiration and to create her mother-tongue music. ¡§H Éd É Éd¡¨ collects many Mongolian traditional songs, and what¡¦s interesting is that, instead of using the traditional instrument like matouqin (a bowed stringed instrument with a scroll carved a horse's head), the music is played in a wonderful instrumentation with zither (an Alpine folk instrument), sheng (Chinese wind instrument) and cello, which creates a new Mongolian tune that combines east and west cultures.
How to integrate traditional and modern elements has always been Urna¡¦s attempt in her music. As a compositor, Urna has unlimited expansibility and creativity, just like the free impromptu Mongolian tunes she sings.
Huegu & Docdoc
To continue the endeavor to reappear the ballad culture of Amis Tribe in ¡§Beatle Nut¡¨ and ¡§Bangcha Wawa¡¦s Summer vacation¡¨, Huego and Docdoc, his old friend who grown up with him since childhood, stick on the frame of traditional Amis folk songs, combine the elements of the blues or rock n¡¦ roll and bring the new interpretation of the songs which every Amis knows and sings.
Instead of the platitude of electronic synthesizer, guitars play the leading role in their music, and interweaved by the Cuban maracas and guiro and the African djembe. They successfully create the folk combines traditional and modern, and the emotion of land and people completely shown in their root blues.
This album includes a 72-pages booklet that expatiates on the collection of the folk songs and displays dozens of open-field pictures Amis Tribe. From tradition to innovation, from the personal growing up to the tribal folk development, Huegu and Docdoc¡¦s self-conscious work ¡§Bura Bura Yan¡¨ invite you to look into the aboriginal music as well as to think over and discover the pregnant cultures.