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A Poignant Path To An Extraordinary Collaboration

WIND MUSIC Presenting Co-production of Sauljaljui and Hey String @ 2023 ACC World Music Festival


Dear Music Lovers,

How’ve you been? The in-person international activities had been stopped for years during the pandemic. Do you still remember how it felt during the days when wearing a mask was required in public places and public transportation? It almost feels like centuries ago. Just like any other business, the art and culture exchange has suffered from the pause for years. That's why it’s been difficult for the audience to imagine how hard it was to present a cross-country artists collaboration that lasted for 3 years - the collaboration between Taiwanese indigenous artist Sauljaljui and the Korean traditional musicians group Hey String.

Taiwanese vocalist Sauljaljui & Korean traditional musicians Hey String

The WIND MUSIC is dedicated to promoting Taiwanese world music artists overseas and creating opportunities for co-production with international artists. The production of the show Sauljaljui and Hey String has been undertaken for over three years since the outburst of COVID-19. Online discussion, recording sessions, and video shooting over and over again, miraculously, the exhausting process has turned the pressure of composing into endless, vibrant inspiration. The virtual version of the production was presented at the 2021 ACC World Music Festival. Now for the first time, at the 2023 edition, the audience finally has the chance to watch the show, live and physically. The co-production really marks the reviving of artistic projects. No matter how hard it was, it worthed everything.

Photo credit: Gwangju ACC World Music Festival

Being a vocalist from the Paiwan-tribe village of Kapanan in southern Taiwan, Sauljaljui has a solid, powerful yet gentle voice. After focusing on heavy metal in her college years, she returned to her hometown and gradually changed her preferred style while working with the Hengchun Folk Music Group and MAQATI, music organizations near her home. Maintaining the structure of indigenous music, her work has a singular and immediate appeal with an integration of pop, folk, Latin, and world music. In this performance, Sauljaljui collected the musical elements of Hengchun and Vangecul folk songs and sang classical Paiwan ancient ballads. She demonstrated her cultural background of Hengchun Peninsula within the 3 co-production pieces with an unshakable stage manner and catching voice, and conquered the local audience.

Photo credit: Gwangju ACC World Music Festival

On the other hand, Hey String is a unique Gayageum trio band. The band has been presenting the music pushing the limits of genre with a deep understanding of traditional Korean music. They explore new possibilities of traditional Korean music and simultaneously expand the boundaries of Korean traditional music.

Photo credit: Gwangju ACC World Music Festival

The 14th ACC World Music Festival 2023 took place from Aug 25th to 27th. The festival is organized by Asia Culture Center, an institute with a large venue in Gwangju, Korea, that offers a platform for Asian participants and the rest of the world to expand the boundary of research, creation, and production. Sauljaljui and Hey String's show was on Aug 26th at the ACC stage (open garden). Being in accordance with the mission of one of the largest ACC projects, the co-production show is considered to be a highlight of the event. The ACC official strived to fulfill the production and made it into an in-person performance.

Photo credit: Gwangju ACC World Music Festival

If I were to pick a meaningful stage at the 2023 ACC World Music Festival, which presents various music from the world, it would definitely be a collaboration performance by Sauljaljui and Hey String, which were collaborated by the Taiwan World Music Festival and ACC …… Sauljaljui's voice, which is indigenous and powerful, was added to the Korean melody built up by the three players of Hey string, giving a faint yet deep impression. This did not just end up with artists showing their own performances, but showed the power created by the process of exploring each other's music for a long time and learning each other's musical language and actually communicating face-to-face.

Such review was given by Yuny Park, the Music director of Gwangju ACC World Music Festival.

Thanks to every single personnel involved in the production. We sincerely look forward to extending such collaboration and opening more poignant moments through art.

Rehearsal for the co-production between Sauljaljui & Hey String

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