Asian voices make themselves heard at music industry fest

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From Taiwanese folk-pop to Korean hip-hop and Japanese techno and dance, the sounds of Asia are reverberating at this year's MIDEM music fest, the industry's biggest annual event.

Taiwan is out in force on the French Riviera with a 50-strong delegation, led by the vice-minister for information, to popularize its folk-pop and aboriginal music, particularly in the booming Chinese market.

And Korean indie hip-hop artists, who are enjoying unprecedented success outside the country, will be performing here for the first time.

Taiwanese musicians, who sing predominantly in Chinese, are seeing huge success across China and other parts of Asia, Information Vice-Minister Hsu Chiu-huang told the press at the four-day fair taking place this week.

"It is very important for Taiwan to make contact with the international music industry and have its artists perform in front of international audiences," he said.

The country's live music scene in Taiwan is extremely vibrant and its music industry, unlike many of its neighbours, does not suffer from rampant illegal music downloading, Taiwanese song writer and radio host Fred Chen told AFP.

Taiwanese artists performing at a live showcase Monday night included student indie singer songwriter Crow Lu, who won the country's 2009 Golden melody Award for best newcomer and composer.

He shared the stage with folkpop artist Mavis and aboriginal singer and activist Panai, whose latest album along with his group Message has won much acclaim.

Cannes' swish Martinez hotel was also the venue for a Japan Night that put the spotlight on Japanese electro and anime music.

Anime songs have become a big hit internationally though many people do not realize they hail from Japan, Saiduke Yamaguchi, director of the country's export promotion division, JETRO, told MIDEM News.

"Japanese-produced techno and dance music is popular in Europe, and Europe and the US are also good markets for Japanese rock and jazz acts," Yamaguchi said.

Korea rounds off the Asian music spectaculars with a show Tuesday at the Martinez hotel bringing the best of Korean pop to MIDEM for the first time.

The country's popular music is enjoying a wave of popularity on the international scene, particularly girl band Wonder Girls, the first Korean group or singer to make it into the prestigious Billboard "Hot 100" music chart recently.

Hoping to build on the back of this success, Korea will be presenting the five-member all-girl group F(X) and hiphop group Epik High.