Rock meets local Chinese opera

Probably one of the three most influential independent rock bands from Taiwan is The Chairman (董事長樂團 or ‘dongshizhang’ in mandarin). They’re certainly one of my favs, and I’ve collected five of their studio albums now.

And they don’t just record album after album, they infuse each one with a different theme or slant without sacrificing their down-to-earth songwriting style.  For example, one album they mixed electronic while another album they reflected a kind of local ‘gangster’ theme. In my mind they really reflect the local flavour of Taiwanese rock, with A-ji’s gutsy vocals, a tight and steady rhythm section and well-crafted twangy guitar jingles and counter melodies.  You can tell their music is a labour of love and not just part of the Taiwanese music factory that churns out dross for profit.

So since 2011 was an auspicious year as the 10oth anniversary for the Republic of China The Chairman have taken inspiration from the local Taiwanese theatre and opera culture by infusing their songs with local instruments and painting their faces for a visually exciting show as well. I can’t say I love all the songs on the album and I was disappointed there were only 9 tracks but I think they did a great job of infusing instruments and percussion of traditional music with their songs.


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