The upcoming feature-length documentary film, HuanDao, which is set to make its world premiere in Nashville on Wednesday, October 19, will be releasing the original soundtrack on October 21- available on Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, KKBox, Apple Music, and other online music retailers.
In the film, SueAnn Shiah, the daughter of immigrants from Taiwan, returns to the island in the hope of learning more about her place in the world. Stuck neither here nor there—too American for Asia and too Asian for America—HuanDao confronts the ongoing struggle between reconciling conflicting identities and the intersection of the past with the present. The documentary’s original soundtrack also reflects this diverse background—a unique juxtaposition of Nashville musicians, original score, and Taiwanese folk and pop music.
While in Taiwan, Shiah traveled to rural areas where she recorded Taiwanese aboriginal musicians Song-Ying and Talaluki in the small beach town of Dulan. Their acoustic folk recordings—tracks 5, 8, & 10—feature guitars made with local Taiwanese woods crafted in a small workshop by Talaluki and Song-Ying. The song “Guo De Qu(Overcome)” (tracks 15 &18) was written by Taiwanese American recording artist Jesse Liang, who now calls Taipei home, and features vocalist Sunnie Yang. “Overcome” is featured in a music video available on Youtube.
Shiah, who has lived in Nashville since 2010, calls upon the community of Music City to continue to flesh out the soundtrack with a variety of Nashville connected artists and singer-songwriters. Former TV news director turned traveling singer-songwriter, Sean Knisely (pronounced "nicely") grew up in West Virginia. As the guitarist and backup vocalist for indie rock band Coyotes in Boxes, he moved with them to Nashville in 2013, writing his own songs in the meantime, which now represent the first music Knisely has released under his own name. His songs “Goldie, Goldie” and “Stillness,” are a blend electronic influences with an introspective singer-songwriter style.
Zach Vinson’s “You Can Have Me” also makes an appearance on the eclectic soundtrack, adding his unique indie piano pop rock sensibilities to the mix. Vinson is a native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who moved Nashville in 2010. His latest EP “How We Spend Our Days” was released in June 2015.
Tracks 3 and 13 were also recorded in Nashville, TN by Sam Ryder, a British singer songwriter who considers Nashville a second home. Before releasing his debut solo EP in March 2016, Ryder was a member of rock bands The Morning After, Blessed By A Broken Heart, and Close Your Eyes. “Raven, Rook, & Crow” and “Little One” are a memorable blend of soul, indie rock, and the folk singer-songwriter style.
SONATORE is the name of the musical project of Taiwanese American DIY artist Alex Cage. The Nashville native creates giant sounds through a system of loops, samples, and organic stringed instruments featured on tracks 4, 6, & 7.
The soundtrack also features original score (tracks 11, 12, 16, & 17) by Syneva Colle (pictured to the right) a Nashville-based performer, composer, and arranger. An accomplished pianist and cellist, Colle performs regularly with the Corwin Trio and is featured as a studio musician on many albums and recordings. Track 11, “MoLiHua” is a reinterpretation of Chinese folk melody Jasmine Flower: a beautiful arrangement that reflects Shiah’s attempts to balance the intersection and tension between the present with the past.
Producer and director SueAnn Shiah is a 2014 graduate from Belmont University where she studied music business, music production, and Chinese and has been living in Nashville for six years. Shiah uses her professional experiences working in the entertainment industry here in Nashville to create a film and a soundtrack that not only speaks to her own journey as a Taiwanese American woman but also draws on a theme common to Music City’s population of transplants- “What and where is home?” and a musical theme commonly explored between tradition and modernity. Shiah oversaw the production of the entire album, as well as, produced, engineered, and mixed all the original music. Mastering was done by Trevor Richardson.