Steamscapes: Asia Project Soundtrack

Long-term projects deserve a soundtrack. It helps inspire you and it puts you in a positive frame of mind for working on the project. Because Steamscapes: Asia will involve collaboration with more people than our previous projects, I thought I would create a soundtrack that could be shared. And then I thought - Why not share it with everyone? Part of the goal of our Kickstarter is to create a community, and nothing brings a community together quite like music. With that in mind, I would like to share with you the Steamscapes: Asia playlist:

 

I am also including a few curator's notes to go with each track:

  • Tai Chi Zero, Main Title - If you are getting ready to write, run, or play a Chinese steampunk game, you absolutely need to watch both Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero. They are perfectly set in 19th-century China with all the right themes and motifs. This main title song does an excellent job of portraying the clash of traditional practice and Western encroachment that is central to the series.
  • Konnakol Solo performed by Somashekar Jois - Konnakol is a traditional vocal style from Southern India. It was designed as a training method for percussionists, who are required to practice marking their rhythms vocally even before they ever touch a tabla.
  • Mitwa performed by Aamir Khan, Gracy Singh, et al - Lagaan is another movie that you need to watch if you haven't already. While it isn't about a battle in the traditional sense, it is absolutely a movie about an Indian community banding together to drive out the English imperialists. This song caps the inspirational "let's all work together" moment.
  • Five Drum Dance performed by Juli Kim - Drumming is obviously a very important tradition worldwide, and certainly in many Asian cultures. I chose this example because the graceful Korean drum dance style varies so widely from both Chinese and Japanese drumming, which both tend to be more energetic or even aggressive.
  • Senbonzakura performed by Wagakki Band - Originally written as a vocaloid piece, this is a song about the crisis of identity that characterized the Meiji era in Japan. Wagakki Band's fusion of traditional and modern instrumentation expresses this idea quite effectively.
  • Bhajan performed by Sheila Chandra - A bhajan is a Hindu devotional hymn. This particular bhajan is a version of "Raghupati Raghava Raja Ram," a song that was a favorite of Ghandiji. He and his followers sang it as they went on the Salt Satyagraha (Salt March).
  • Romance of the Red River performed by Liu Fang - A folk song of the Yi People of Southeast Asia (Southern China, Vietnam, and Thailand). Liu Fang herself is from Yunnan province, where she no doubt first heard this song.
  • Lal Meri Pat performed by Nusret Fateh Ali Khan - This is a Sufi devotional song in the Qawwali tradition. Nusret Fateh Ali Khan was one of the greatest Qawwali singers of all time, bringing the form to audiences all around the world. His voice inspired musicians everywhere.
  • Itsumo Nando Demo by Yumi Kimura - I just had to end with this song. It remains one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have ever heard, and the lyrics are at the same time delicate and powerful.

And the Kickstarter is live. Go check it out now!