2022 in sounds, sights and smells

Events by the Taiwan Overtone Singing Association and IUooUI

The year began with our new performance group, IUooUI presenting itself with concerts in Mei Garden, Taipei. This was followed by the establishing of the Taiwan Overtone Singing Association (TOSA), and then again more concerts by IUooUI. It is very encouraging to see the developments of some of my most loyal students in this performance group, and a growing audience for our musical adventures, now joining in an official association. I am grateful to all the members, supporters and to Sunny Chen, who is the driving force behind TOSA and pushed ahead with the concert programs for IUooUI. The highlight was a series of concerts in the Taipei Fringe Festival.








Performing Hsu Po-Yun’s music at the National Concert Hall, Taipei

As icing on the cake of the overtone singing events in early 2022, I was invited to perform in a piece of the venerable Taiwanese composer Hsu Po-Yun, contributing with Tuvan throat singing, in the National Concert Hall in Taipei.


Smells of 2022: Healing Island Videos

One of the recurring activities in 2022 was the shooting of short video documentaries about Taiwanese trees and plants that my wife June Wen included in her book Healing Island. That is sort of a new role for me as a video-host/presenter without direct link to my performing roles (though surely I do sometimes popped out some guttural sounds or overtones – don’t worry!). Here we shot one of the favorite species we visited: shell ginger aka pandanus aka kewra. An aroma that ‘blew me away’ when I first smelled its extract at the book launch in January 2022.

Jew’s Harp extravaganza

Just like some 15 years ago, we had several days of Jew’s Harp music, but this time in Taiwan. The first large-scale festival of its kind. I had the honour to open and close the festival with a solo performance. The closing ceremony turned into an hour+  jam with everybody joining – including the audience. Special guest and old friend Leo Tadagawa joined me for some visits to several great, indigenous Jew’s harp makers.

Authoring of a New Music text

I contributed not only music (voices and Jew’s harp) but also text to a new composition by the German-Chinese composer Yang Song (who also has Mongol parentage). The writing fits into my current practise of writing one okyo a day, but I specifically sought out Mongolian characteristics. Full story here.


365 Algorhythms: 23112001

I am writing at least one new okyo every day since early December. Okyo is Japanese for sutra, borrowed from Michael Vetter’s use of the term (more about that later).

Listen and join in if you like (click the image).

Oldest Institutions

For some time (decades, in a way) I am interested in the question what are the oldest institutions in the world. A post I read last year of an organisation dedicated to thinking and acting on the long term provided interesting yet unsatisfying answers. There is a nice list of old institutions as a GIF image, with some truly surprising names. It includes Japan, too, which is important. But China was lacking, as was India, and I am not sure yet how that could be possible. I guess this lack gave me the impetus, a few months later, to decide to attend that very ancient ceremony, celebrated on Teacher’s Day in Chinese-speaking countries. I had been thinking about that for at least 10 years, but now was the time. Time to act. Time to witness history. On September 28, I heard the ceremony designed by Confucius, and I saw Kung Tsui-Chang, who can claim descent from that old master. The 79th generation, 2572 years later. A stunning idea. Several versions of the ritual seem to exist and changes did and do happen. Yet we can praise Confucius for creating something that more or less survived all these two-and-a-half thousand years.


Two new albums, one book and one book contribution

Click on the image for the full story.