To & from the Heart


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Daniel Hos statement quot;To & From the Heart,quot; at this juncture in my life, has been an incomparably enlightening experience. It opened my senses to an unfamiliar sound filled with candid sincerity and organic beauty. The music of the Taiwu Childrens Ancient Ballads Troupe in one word: quot;moving.quot; Every morning, I couldnt wait to get up and work on these recordings, anxious to see how the songs would turn out after they were arranged, mixed, and mastered. The first piece I heard was quot;Lulimai.quot; Upon reaching the end of the song, I discovered that the choir performed an unexpected postlude. Its stunning opening phrase suddenly made me teary. I cant explain what overcame me, other than to speculate that genuine emotion streamed from their voices. There were countless moments in the process where I found myself in a state of speechless awe, chicken skin (goose bumps), and watery eyes. In an effort to comprehend this phenomenon, I listened as far into their music as I could. How were they able to effortlessly grab at ones emotions with voices alone, even on a recording? Perhaps it starts with the children of Paiwan descent, who sing out from their figurative mountain top homes. Their souls so pure and their voices so uninhibited, that every resonating note makes the heart swell with astonishment. How did they develop this sophisticated and beautiful sense of rhythm and phrasing at such a young age? It had to come from somewhere or someone. Maybe that someone is found in Camake, their mentor and ultimate big brother. The kids adore him-he keeps them occupied and safe, and provides a rich portal of opportunities to experience the world. He possesses a shockingly innate sense of musicality, which he in turn brings forth from the children. There is a genius to his ability to bestow knowledge this valuable. Or from a more analytical perspective, it could be the advanced use of musical techniques-the tension and release of appoggiatura, the marked presence of dramatic silence, voices of improvised inspiration occasionally piercing through the choir-all indigenous signatures that come to them instinctively. For this album, I was entrusted with the task of creating musical arrangements around the Taiwu childrens a cappella performances. Some songs called for the grandiosity of piano, others needed the company of a few more instruments. I also had the great pleasure of working for the first time with renowned pipa ambassador, Wu Man. The result is one of the most musically sincere projects I have had the honor of joining. I have studied music all my life with the hope of learning how to do what Camake and these youth do so naturally-communicate emotion, tell a story, and make people feel. It is the effect of these moving experiences, to and from the heart, that leave impressions that will last as long as time. Organic Singing from the Earth by Judy Wu, the Producer Like many in this contemporary age, I only received training in Western music. Similarly, current mainstream music mostly follows the aesthetic confines of Western music. Thus, I spent twenty years very slowly learning anew the aesthetic structure of Eastern music. While recording the childrens singing in this album, I struggled with whether to cater to the general publics Western aesthetic of perfect harmony or to completely maintain both Eastern and tribal Paiwan aesthetics. What is the difference between these two? Im afraid most people arent really clear on this issue. Even I, wh


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