music

Postcards from Taipei + A Playlist for Asia

taipei_danshui_fishermans_wharf_sophia_hsin-5.jpgSunset at Fisherman’s Wharf in Tamshui, Taipei

It is so weird being back in Canada after a month in Asia.

While I feel that my soul will forever be stuck somewhere in the Pacific Ocean between North America and Asia, I am glad for photos and stories to linger over these trips and memories.

When I think of Taipei, I think of the scorching tropics, the smell of pineapples, scooter exhaust and a city vibrant with the best selection of night markets, alleyways and temples that take you back in time.

Here you will find the perfect mix of western influence and Chinese tradition with traces of Japan. But the best thing about Taipei is always the hospitality of people who are ready to make a tourist feel like local.

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Huashan 1914 Creative Park: One of my favourite places with ongoing exhibitions of Asian designers and creatives, music festivals and coffee shops to sit in and watch Taipei go by.

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Taipei Main Station. Taken in 2014

So if you ever find yourself in Taipei, be prepared to let go of your western politeness, go all out with the best food, island scooter adventures and a warm experience of Asia you will not too soon forget.

A playlist for your trip: 

1. Crowd Lu – 100 Ways of Living (盧廣仲 – 100種生活)
If you are on the hunt for Taiwanese musicians this guy is such a good place to start. I love his humble lyrics like buying breakfast with homies (soy milk and salty donuts all day every day), wise words from his grandmother to the pursuit of his musical journey. He also works often with my favourite photographer Hideaki Hamada.

2. Nujabes – Aruarian Dance
Trust me. So. good.

3. Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence
I found out about Mr. Sakamoto during my college years and my ears have been in love since. A pianist and slightly moodier composer (much like Studio Ghibli for adults), you will find yourself moved with his soft and deep pieces like Energy Flow and Rain.

4. Deserts Chang – Bao Bei (張懸 – 寶貝)
This lady is an inspo with her soft vocals, rich cadenzas and creating music for deeply sentimental people.

5. Shanghai Restoration Project – Jade Buddha Temple w/ Di Johnston
I found out about Dave Liang during my years living in China. It has been a treat following this Asian American producer turn Chinese folk songs into modern tunes. Shanghai Restoration Project brings me back to Shanghainese streets, steamed dumplings and music theatres with women clad in silk gowns and jade bracelets.

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Taipei has a pace that is surprisingly laid back for a popular Asian city. I love watching the locals stop for photos of flowers, trees, boats and anything that catches their fancy.
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Exploring old alley ways around Gongguan. Many of these apartments used to be air raid hidings from the Taiwan/Japan War in the 1900s.
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Monster shaved ice at Roji, Taipei – Are they not cute? I died a sweet death

If there was a time I grew up not knowing whether I was Taiwanese or Canadian, I am grateful for this city where I learn about my heritage every time I visit. Taipei will forever be my home away from home and hold a special place in my heart.

I leave you with a favourite quote from Ansel Adams:

You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.

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Till next time.

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A Playlist for Travel II

figs_yogurts_jam.jpgSavouring my mornings at home, I fig-ured that there is always thyme to enjoy the simple things 🙂

Hello from 40,000 feet up in the air.

I have to say that there nothing better than having no wifi for a few hours and you finally get to sit down and work on the post or finish that chapter you’ve been wanting to finish.

A big part of my inspiration comes from music, the discipline from musicians and the beauty of how they create different realities and weave stories through notes, emotion and words. It is a dream to achieve the same through photographs and writing. Like the way a great film makes you feel long after you leave the theatre.

figs-3.jpgfigs-2.jpgI always imagined that Ella Fitzgerald and Norah Jones would be the kind of musician that would enjoy morning walks by the river and fresh figs on their toast and yogurt.

Here is another playlist for travel, for another city and another adventure to find photographs that fit my words like lyrics to a song.

1. Elderbrook – Could A great mellow song for editing and you have to admit that Europeans know their pop.

2. John Legend – Penthouse Floor ft. Chance the Rapper  I am probably most impressed with John Legend’s appearance on La La Land but there is something so soothing about his vocals. Can we all agree that Chance the Rapper is the best thing ever?

3. Norah Jones – Don’t Know Why I recently found out that Norah and Anoushka Shankar are half sisters and I don’t know why but that makes me very happy.

4. Balmorhea – Bow Spirit A band I discovered thanks to my yoga instructor. The acoustics are quiet and beautiful and I love their use of strings.

5. The Brilliance – Brother The Brilliance is a band I have followed through different seasons in my life and I am so happy to see their music evolve while staying true to their music. I read all their interviews like Harry Potter books and am glad to say they are a band I love from the inside out. The new album Brother is a delight of modern pop and uplifting acoustics. Because what better way is there to inspire imagination than through beautiful music?

Happy listening and stay posted for photos from Toronto!

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A Playlist for Travel

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View over London. I saw a similar photo by a photographer a few years ago and loved it to pieces. Imagine my great surprise when I opened my window and saw this shot!

One thing I love about the everyday is the quiet moments in my studio (wherever that may be) and getting to sit down and process the thoughts that are in my head into words and photos.

A tip for moving through a creative block: Public Transit!

Park yourself on a bus in your city, a train in India (as I am now), a flight somewhere  or a long metro ride to your parents. Always choose the window seat.

A few good songs for editing or writing on the road or where ever you are:

1. Stars Appear – Adam Young (All of Adam’s new acoustic series are lovely)

2. Once Again – Petit Biscuit

3. Reunion – Anoushka Shankar (Anything by Anoushka or Nitin Sawhney is especially good if you are travelling to India)

4. Pluto – Sleeping at Last ( One of my new favourite bands) 

5. Barcelona – George Ezra 

So pull out your notebook, laptop or phone, get out there and enjoy the ride.

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