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Human Equivalent:EAST at the Chiayi International Band Festival, Taiwan

05th Jan 2010

This New Year was a very special one for myself and some of my band members. During the summer, I had been approached by a Taiwanese arts promotion company by the name of CSR-Taiwan at a gig I was playing in at the Edinburgh Festival. They expressed their interest in having some of us over to Taiwan to play at some point in the future. Keeping in contact with them over the next few months thereafter, I was astonished when they asked if it would be possible to bring a band over to Taiwan for the New Year Celebration and the Music Festival they have in the city of Chiayi. <http://www.chiayicity2009.com.tw/en/02/page01.html> I have never been to Asia, and for the longest time it has been a destination I have always wanted to travel to, so I took up the offer and set about getting a group together that would fit their needs.
Human Equivalent is usually a quintet, but because CSR-Taiwan had a quota to stick to, and the festival is basically a wind band festival, I had to bring in a few more musicians in order for them to be able fund the trip. So, after much brainstorming and re-arranging of my music and compositions, I put a prime Berklee/NEC supergroup together:
Serghio Jansen, Guitar (Berklee ’10), Martin Nessi, Bass (Berklee ’10), Massimo Buonanno, Drums (Berklee ’10), Chad ‘Aaron Notes’ Selph, Keyboard and Piano (Berklee ’11), Arturo Pena, Percussion (Berklee ’10), Vivek Patel, Trumpet (NEC ’08) and special guest Kunter Chang, Tenor Saxophone (Berklee ’01).
After intensive rehearsing in Boston MA, we all headed home for Christmas and then from each of our countries (Scotland, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Columbia, Switzerland & USA), we set off on the long journey to Taiwan on the 28th & 29th December 2009.
None of us really knew what to expect on arrival in Taiwan (none of us had visited Asia before, let alone Taiwan), so there were a few nerves here and there, but – oh boy! – was it ever better than anything we could have expected.

The hospitality of the Taiwanese was beyond amazing, the gigs were massive and the culture was magical. The first night, we played the Chiayi Civil Stadium filled with a crowd of Chiayi’s youth and festival goers; the second night, again in the open air, we played to a huge enthusiastic crowd under a half-dome in Zhong-Cheng Park, one of the city’s bigger parks; and the third night we played in a concert hall, the Culture Division Music Hall.
Every audience was an honor to play to, and CSR-Taiwan and the Chiayi Executive Mayor, Cultural Minister and Mayor were all a pleasure to work with and meet (this includes Felice, Arielle, Chung and two new friends of ours, Vicky and Elly).
On behalf of Human Equivalent:EAST, I would like to thank them all for the wonderful experience we all had, and look forward hopefully to bringing our music to Taiwan and the Far East again in the near future. A full report of the visit will be online soon.

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