Fade to Blue is the name of a duo based in Taiwan and is also the title of their album. The project puts together two performers of musical traditions from different parts of the world and the album they have released is a live recording containing 14 tracks recorded on tour during 2015.
The members are pipa player Chung Yufeng who is from Taipei, and guitarist, singer and songwriter David Chen who was born in Ohio but has lived in Taiwan for many years since moving there to explore his familial roots. Their music mixes American folk and blues with traditional Chinese music but that’s only part of the story as they also touch on influences from other places as well as playing original songs and compositions.
Those attending the Music Showcase at the Trans Asia Music Meeting in Okinawa earlier this month were able to see a live show by Fade to Blue who were one of two overseas acts invited to take part. They were very well received by the audience and the pair impressed everyone. These recordings are divided fairly equally between songs and instrumentals played on Chung’s pipa (a Chinese four-stringed instrument that gave rise to the related Japanese biwa) and Chen’s resonator and 12-string acoustic guitars.
Among the songs are versions of Son House’s ‘Preachin’ Blues’ and Skip James’s ‘Devil Got My Woman’ while of special interest to listeners here will be Chen’s original ‘Okinawa Mama’. The instrumental pieces range from the traditional bluegrass and old-time ‘Blackberry Blossom’ to the Middle Eastern inspired ‘Siwa’ by Chung. The album ends with their title track ‘theme song’ inspired by Hawaiian slack key music.
This is a very enjoyable musical journey and the album is also very neatly packaged with explanatory notes on each track by David Chen and lyrics are included of all the songs in both English and Chinese. The result is not at all an academic exercise but instead exudes fun, adventure and great musicianship.
Fade to Blue is released by Trees Music & Art.