30 September 2009

Electric Soran

Carla, a former assistant in the Taiwanese music history database project, is going to get married in November. Since I have been reading books and papers on dance music and started trying to produce some, I decided to make a short piece as an extra wedding congratulatory token for her.

This is my second attempt at making dance music. Adapted phrases from Felix Mendelssohn's 'Wedding March' and samples taken from two Taiwanese oldies are integrated into this track.

While to Western ears extracts from Taiwanese songs are unfamiliar and thus carry no significance, most Taiwanese listeners will recognise their association with a wedding.

The Taiwanese song is actually adapted from Soran bushi (ソーラン節), originally a kind of Japanese folk song of the herring fishermen in Hokkaido, the northernmost of the four main islands of Japan. Soran bushi is particular sung while transferring the herring from large drift nets into scoop nets.

While bushi simply means the song melody, soran is a vocable sung out repeatedly by the crowd in unison at the beginning and in the mid of the song to keep them in tune and in rhythm. Listen to a recorded Japanese version:

As soran sounds very much similar to the Taiwanese given name Solan (素蘭), when the Japanese song 'Soran bushi' was covered in Taiwanese to become a popular song in 1960s Taiwan, the original string of non-lexical vocables 'soran, soran, soran, soran...' was adapted into 'Miss Solan is going to get married'. Listen to the adapted Taiwanese version:

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