About 7 months ago I was hit up by one of my most favourite humans in the world - MAS1A - to come back to SE Asia and support the tour she had set up with reggae legend Sister Nancy. Her name might seem unfamiliar to most, but this track [click here] is one of the most played and remixed reggae songs of all time. If you've heard Bob Marley being played at a reggae bar, then you most likely have heard this song getting air time at some point during the evening. Synonymous names to the genre, my friends. Last summer Jay-Z released a remix to this chune featuring Damian Marley - the video beautifully captures Jamaica, and has a cameo of Sister Nancy freestyling 'Bam Bam'. [Peep here].
So, at the beginning of December, I found myself on a plane to Singapore to reunite with the SE Asia hip-hop reggae empress herself, MAS1A, who has dedicated the last four years to building and cultivating this music community though events and island retreats, under the name Singapura Dub Club. She took me to Taiwan for the first time in my life and I looovved it ! Low-key, I've got to keep this a secret before everyone starts migrating over there because the lifestyle is nice. Cost of living, balance of cities and lush national parks, beaches, the influence of taoism (a generally pleasant, chill, helpful, and generous demeanour of the people), the foooooood (best dumplings, tofu/shrimp cakes, deep fried mushrooms, noodles *drool*), and a wonderful surf town called Kenting, had me sold. I'm coming back without question.
MAS1A asked me to help transform the venue at the Tainan, Taiwan show. With only 3 days to come up with something, we decided to keep it as simple as possible and did a scour through Kaohsiung for some fabrics. We found a crap ton of red, green, and yellow - worldwide reggae colors - for only $30 CDN. I cut the fabric into strips and alternated the colours on a long garland. I also took the flyer artwork for the show, got them printed into smaller card stock, and made them into additional garlands that we strung up on stage. These basic textures, mixed with the magic of a man named Laser Dan = Bananas. I feel inspired to get my hands on a DMX mixer and a bunch of crazy ass lights and go to towwwnnn.
Sister Nancy, in her 60's, is a freaking powerhouse of a vocalist. Her voice has aged like fine wine - deeper and stronger with a wisdom that only comes from decades of performance experience. She came through with DJ's Matty and Norris King of Legal Shot Sound System *shots fired*. The Taiwan show was curated by I & I World Parties - with guest performers MAS1A, The Combobulators, Pat Reid, DJ Twohands, and a dancehall dancer from Japan named Cornbread (who, I might add, decided to invite me on stage during his performance and daggered, and bubbled me. If you dont know what this means, don't google it. Hahaha.) It was an amazing night - got to meet so many of the culture kids spearheading the music, art and food scene of Tainan.
The next day, we were up early, groggy and very tired, and had to manage navigating through cabs, trains, and planes from Taipei to Singapore to make it in time for the show at Hard Rock Cafe SG. Traveling with Cornbread, Sister Nancy, the Legal Shot DJ's and MAS1A was a gong show. We were quite the motley crew, and arrived just in time for doors opening at the venue. The show in Singapore had surprise guest appearances by Ras Muhammad, Danny Frust (big reggae names in Indonesia), and other performances by DJ Justo, Bushmen Spore, Shore Indonesia, and Dr. Sakthi Reggae.
The tour was short and action packed, but was so thankful for the experience, and to be able to bring life into the space that Sister Nancy performed in. Rob, the promoter for the Taiwan show, expressed to me how much the space transformation really shifted how he perceives environments and how they affect the overall mood and ambience of a live show. *Sigh* Yessss. This is why I do what I do. I just love being a little pixie on a ladder buzzing around until the house lights turn off and the magic come on. Excited for more...