21.5.04

Cycled through the tailend of a thunderstorm last night to see David Darling and the Bunun Singers at St George's church in Kemp Town. There was DD at the back against a badly creased backdrop of mountain forest, a string quintet (including a bass player just called Jub) and about 30 swaying indiginous Taiwanese chanters in national costume. There was also an irritating ambient soundtrack of chirping, birdsong and treefrog noises, which along with dripping water from the roof gave us the rain forest experience. The men paraded out with rifles!! Blimey, hope they weren't loaded! First song was a 2001 A Space Oddesy type men-only circle dance ascending chant emulating bees and praying for a good millet harvest with which to make beer. Then the Bunun women came on and we had a more polyphonic Hawaiian type sound with DD adding a bluesy feel. All in all, a very unusual sound -- quite spiritual in a way. It was a called a collaboration, but I imagine the Bunun boys and girls were just doing their 'traditional' thing, and DD and Quietus were joining in. We also got one very short experimental solo piece from DD, and some of his singing! Wine sales (no millet beer!) in the interval went to Amnesty International.
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