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TAIWANfest 2022: Will Van Lefan embrace a journey of self-discovery with new album What Holds Us Together?

Vancouver musician Van Lefan, aka Lefan, has spent years processing the effects of immigration to Canada.

Born in northern Taiwan, she moved with her family to Maple Ridge in 2006 when her native natural area was converted into a factory.

She was only 11 years old, and it was quite a culture shock to be pulled away from her expected life and plunged into a mostly white and unfamiliar world.

“I think I was ashamed of being different,” says Lefan. straight“Coming from rural Taiwan to Maple Ridge seemed like a strange experience. It took me a long time to find myself and my sense of belonging.”

She documents this journey in a 40-page booklet. What is it that unites us?Across 11 mostly autobiographical songs, Lefan explores the roots of his identity, ecological justice, ancestral knowledge and natural medicine.

“I am very inspired by the many protests that have taken place over the past few years,” says Lefan. “yes What is it that unites us?, I think I invite people to ponder what we all have in common. We all have connections with our ancestors. “

Van Lefan likes to write songs near water and that inspires her.
Carla Elaine

Lefan wrote all chord progressions and lyrics and worked with producer Thomas Hoeller on the arrangements. They worked with a large team of studio musicians to complete the album, with Lefan singing all the songs and playing almost all of them on flute and one guitar track.

She is also a visual artist whose expressive, nature-oriented works appear in booklets and on her website.

“Storytelling feels at the forefront of my art-making,” explains Lefan.

That’s expressed in the opening track, “I am Le Fan,” where the singer-songwriter thanks her ancestors for hundreds of years of hard work leading up to her happy childhood in Taiwan. The spoken part concludes with a description of how a stream that was once full of fish, shrimp and clams died due to industrialization.

1 video.I am Le Fan | What unites us | Van Le Fan

Listen to the first track of the album, the spoken word multilingual piece “I am Le Fan”.

For years she shunned the name “Lefan” and called her “Vanessa” at school. Only recently has she regained her original name.

The album’s second track, “The Lesson,” is a folk-oriented song that asks eagles for advice on how to spread their wings and take a leap of faith. 60’s folk reminiscent of world-changing songs by his artist.
Various other songs have lyrics in English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese, reflecting Le Fan’s legacy.

“I wanted to put my all into it,” says Lefan. “My complete self is all of these things.”

2. Lesson Video | What Brings Us Together? | | Van Lephan

Listen to “The Lesson” by Van Lephan.

Lefan’s complete self is also informed by her keen interest in psychedelics and botanical medicine. Magic Her Mushrooms not only helped her process the trauma of immigration, but also inspired her music.

“The last song on the album, ‘Medicine,’ is an ode to psychedelic experiences,” she reveals.

Lefan is also an avid environmentalist. And last summer, she participated in a logging ban protest in her Creek watershed in Fairey.

“Thousands of people were involved, but what I personally gained from being on the front line was how powerful people can be when united by a single purpose or idea. That’s what I mean,” she says.

11. Medical Video | What Brings Us Together? | | Van Lephan (ft. Tonye and Kin Balam)

“Medicine” is a tribute to the benefits of botanical medicine.

Lefan admits that some of what happened at Fairy Creek was “bad”. The police used heavy-handed methods, drawing the ire of a BC Supreme Court judge. But she’s impressed by how ingenious the protesters were in coming up with a device to prevent the felling of ancient trees.

“People were willing to ride out their bodies, such as carrying heavy objects and hiking, just to care for each other, but also for trees and places,” Lefan says. “We were all desperate to go beyond our normal limits in serving our communities.”

For her it was a humiliating experience.

She also likes to bring that sense of service into her music. . In this respect, she likens art to a “Trojan horse”. Trojan horses can win people’s minds without them necessarily being aware of what’s going on.

“Sometimes, even if you talk really logically, that is, to their brains, it doesn’t work because they’ve already closed their minds,” she says. “Music and art have a way of speaking to stubborn minds and changing something beyond consciousness.

“So definitely my intention is to speak to people’s inner children and speak to people’s hearts. Maybe this will land and help you in some way and make the world a little bit better place.” .

MY FIRST ALBUM video has been released!!!

Video: Van Lefan talks about the release of his first album. What is it that unites us?after two years of recording, producing and mixing.

Lefan credits her parents for developing her love of art.

“My mother was in the choir all her life, singing around the house all the time,” she says. “Karaoke is a big part of my culture.”

Her father used to sing lullabies to her before she went to bed when she was a child.

“Ever since I can remember, singing has been a way of expressing and communicating love, joy and sorrow in our family,” recalls Lefan. “They saw that I loved it so much that I think that’s what they wanted from me.”

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TAIWANfest 2022: Will Van Lefan embrace a journey of self-discovery with new album What Holds Us Together?

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