What do you get when a teenager from Lanyu’s Tao tribe comes to
Taipei and starts making music with a globe wanderer originally
of the Paiwan tribe and a drum ‘n’ bass dj? Well, it’s
impossible to say. Not just because this type of synthesis has
never been heard before, which it hasn’t, but because in this
day and age, and in Taipei where these three guys met, truly
anything can happen.
Jeff is the Tao from Lanyu. Red i is Paiwan and grew up on four
continents. And Ty is your typical middle-class guy from Taipei,
except he makes aggressive electronic music. And so what? The
music they make is more than a pastiche of the styles one might
expect from people of these backgrounds.
It’s got the bounce of reggae, the sexiness of R&B, the hip-hop
rage of the disenfranchised and, yes, the tell-tale imprimatur
of tribal song. In his rap, Jeff lashes out at the hypocrisy and
injustice of the society that threatens his culture with
extinction, while Red i lays down Rasta-inspired homage to a
homeland newly rediscovered.
They started, wisely, from the adage that “you don’t know where
you’re going, unless you know where you’re from,” and after some
soul-searching concluded they’re from planet Earth, Taiwan,
Taipei, Lanyu, 2003, now. No wonder, then, the Tiho Brothers
make music that is unmistakably of this moment and of this