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Ersha Island - EP Review: Back To Our Roots

29 Feb 2024 // A review by Corinne Rutherford
Classically trained duo Dani and Tee are Ersha Island, Auckland based musicians with a contemporary style which has been described as indie-folk. They began their journey in Guangzhou, China on Ersha Island, hence their name. Back To Our Roots is the sibling duo's debut EP, 6 tracks of hauntingly stunning soundscapes that celebrates the pair's genealogy.


The sisters both gained distinctions in piano and violin for classical performance at The China Conservatory Of Music in Beijing, at the young ages of 11 and 8. This has set the stage for their unique style featuring a blend of eastern and western sounds.

Back To Our Roots is a journey of exploration and discovery, seeking what it means to be of mixed identity. The Ep, due to be released to coincide with the Chinese new year, is largely inspired by stories from their Grandfather. It is an evolution of Chinese – New Zealand sound, elegance in concept and form, uniquely beautiful.

The prelude to this EP is their Grandfathers storytelling which adds an instant depth of character even if you don’t speak the language it sets the scene for the following tracks.

Flowing gracefully, title track Back To Our Roots incorporates the gentle melodic sound of Chinese woodwind instruments with wonderfully harmonious vocals.

The marriage of instrument and vocalisation is superb.

One standout for me was Beijing, which showcases the harmony and range of Dani and Ti.

A recently released single from the EP titled Like The Other Kids, alongside Iris Zhang and Geoff Ong is a smooth pop/R&B track with a moving message about being singled out for looking different from other kids. A slick beat can't hide the fact it is a topic which causes sadness.

The final track My Mother’s Mountains And My Father's Sea is a enchanting song of captivating storytelling accompanied by the distinct sound of traditional Chinese instruments. This is a song which captures the pairs biracial upbringing in the most delicate way, letting their voices shine.

Back To Our Roots is a stunning example of what can be achieved when classical, modern pop merge with Chinese traditional. Elegant and sophisticated.

 

About Ersha Island

Auckland-based duo Ersha Island is the musical amalgamation of two Chinese-Kiwi singer-songwriters inspired by their biracial upbringing.

Having chalked up early achievements in Classical Performance at the China Conservatory of Music in Beijing, sisters Dani and Tee now create mesmerising and memorable soul-pop compositions featuring their piano and violin pedigree.

Ersha Island performed at Grrrl Fest (Hamilton, 2021), and have been writing new music in both English and Mandarin; they will release their debut singles Gut Feeling and Good Day on 22-2-22 on both Western and Asian/Chinese platforms.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ersha Island

Releases

Back To Our Roots
Year: 2024
Type: Album

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