Endless Story – Unique cultural exchange between Taiwan and Germany
The Endless Story project, which was born 6 years ago as the vision of Sodagreen producer Will Lin, reaches its climax and comes to completion in Taipei this coming weekend. This week 60 musicians from Germany are travelling to Taipei to present Endless Story with Sodagreen in the Taipei Arena. Sodagreen has released four albums, each one of them associated with a world metropolis and stylistically aligned with the Four Seasons: a folkloristic spring in Taipei (‘Daylight’), a rock summer in London (‘Fever’), a poetic Chinese autumn in Beijing and finally a classical winter in Berlin. They were released in Asia as a media box entitled ‘Project Vivaldi – Winter Endless’, containing a DVD Blu-ray disc and 2 audio CDs on 4 November 2015. The DVD was recorded in March of this year in Berlin’s Nalepa Studios by Sodagreen and the GermanPops Orchestra under the direction of the latter’s conductor and crossover specialist Professor Bernd Ruf.
When, one year ago, Bernd Ruf was asked by Sodagreen to conduct this project, his insufficient knowledge of the Chinese language meant that he was not fully aware of its cultural dimensions. It sounded like a typical band-orchestra crossover project, like many he already knew and had frequently led in the past. As the experienced musical bridge builder engaged to an ever greater degree with the music and texts, he was surprised and overwhelmed by the profundity of themes and their particular execution. That a Taiwanese singer-songwriter, Qing Feng of Sodagreen, would write songs about Sisyphus, concentration camps, the psychology of a dictator (Hitler), the psychological consequences of Chernobyl and philosophic meditations appeared to him exceptional. Themes about which, for whatever reason, no German songwriter wished to write, but because of German and European history, appear so relevant. Instead they find expression in an Asian band’s song cycle that is dedicated to Berlin: ‘Winter Endless’. Moreover, the orchestral arrangements of classically trained pianist and violist AGong testify to a highly sensitive grasp of tones and sounds and to a virtuoso handling of classical and pop. The song themes are initially exuberantly ornamented, then abruptly broken, thereby creating a second layer to the philosophically abstract texts, which could scarcely be further from pseudo-romantic love songs.
Sodagreen is one of the most successful bands in Taiwan and China. Formed in 2001, cooperation with producer Will Lin, who recognised the unbelievable poetic power of singer-songwriter Qing Feng, began three years later.
Qing Feng – Singer and songwriter
Wei – Drums and songwriter
AGong – Keyboards and orchestral arrangements
Claire – Bass
A Fu – Guitar
Kay – Guitar