André Nobels
Gig Seeker Pro

André Nobels

Band Folk Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"A dream comes full circle"

What happens when a bunch of musicians work together to help one of their own? Read on ...
By David Momphard
Friday, Aug 06, 2004,Page 17

Andre Nobels will release his first six-track CD tomorrow at the first annual Circle of Dreams Music Festival to be held at Hsichih's Dream Community.

Make a mental list of the world's music capitals and it likely won't include Taipei. So it might seem like an unlikely place for Canadian singer-songwriter Andre Nobels to come in pursuit of his dream.

"My dream was to make a CD; make my music happen," said the 27-year-old who came from Toronto to Taipei a year-and-a-half ago. He's since made it happen.

Nobels spent the past half year as an artist-in-residence at Dream Community in Hsichi. There, with the help of Dream Community's founder, Gordon Tsai, he recorded his first studio release, a six-track EP titled Soul Fever. More remarkably, he's gathered some of Taiwan's best bands to help celebrate the release with a two-day music festival that may well become an annual fixture on Dream Community's calendar of events.

"He's doing his best to enhance culture in Taiwan and make it evolve," Nobels said of Tsai. Gordon said, "There's NT$100,000 for your CD. Now you have to find a way to make it happen."

The idea they came up with is to hold a concert to promote and sell the CD with the hopes of raising enough money to put another musician or band in the studio next year and again bring together a community of musicians to help launch it. Proceeds from the first 1,000 CDs and all the money from the festival will go into a fund to be used next year. Taiwan Colors Music will distribute the remainder of the CDs.

If the response is good, Nobels said, it could be a sustainable, grassroots way of giving local musicians a start on their careers, as well as giving local music fans a new annual festival.

Some of the bands that have heeded the call include popular acts Milk, Chicken Rice, Neon, Rocket Girl and Sister White. That each of these groups have been busy playing the HoHaiYan and Formoz music festivals in the past few weeks hasn't diminished their enthusiasm for the project.

"You can grow a little tired of playing free gigs," said Darren Jorde, bass player for Milk, "But this is something that's a good cause. It's an opportunity to give back to the community and help the local music scene grow."

"It's great to have Milk playing," Nobles said. "They put us over the initial hump. I wasn't sure what kind of bands we were going to get. I met Darren at an AIDS benefit a few weeks ago and we talked about the festival. He was in to it and he got the band in to it."

It's been snowballing and everyone has felt the energy behind this idea and been jumping on board.

One of the ways the Circle of Dreams Festival hopes to see the local music scene grow is by promoting up-and-coming talent. Each day of the festival will begin with sets from promising local acts. The Yan Ming High School guitar club will strut their stuff alongside more experienced musicians not often heard outside the bars and pubs where they regularly play.

Nobels knows all too well that giving such young groups an opportunity to cut their teeth benefits not only them, but the more experienced musicians, too. He met the young Taiwanese musicians that became his back-up band by posting a want ad at local music stores.

"Where's a lot of young musicians in and around Taoyuan," Nobels said. "They kind of congregate at the music stores there. Our bass player is a girl. She's cute. Her bass is twice as big as she is."

And, of course, there's the hope among many of these young musicians that they might be the beneficiary of next year's festival and be given the opportunity to go into the studio to cut their own CD.

"Yeah, that would be great," said Irish singer-songwriter Brian Colhoun. "But it's enough to be given an opportunity to perform in a place that isn't a bar, in a concert setting. The Dream Community is a great outdoor space."

Nobels and the several people helping him organize the Circle of Dreams are also exploring other ways of making sure the festival becomes an annual event.

"Right now the idea that's in the ether is to put together a compilation disc of all the really talented groups on the island, he said. "Then they'll each play at the festival next year and the audience could choose which of the young bands or musicians gets to go into the studio."

The idea behind the festival is great, but it needs room to grow and take care of itself. Maybe next year it won't be so grassroots.

The Circle of Dreams Music Festival begins tomorrow at 2pm at Dream Community, located at the intersection of Chungshing Rd and Huchien St. in Hsichi (Ž¬Ž~’†‹»˜HŒÎ‘OŠXŒû). Admission to the festival is free. Andre Nobels and the Visionaries will play an acoustic dinner set on Sunday for which tickets cost NT$500. There will also be workshops in dance, hand drumming, crafts, tai chi, yoga and more to be held on Sunday. For more information, including a map to Dream Community, check out

Rice as a metaphor for cultural growth

Ten years ago, Dream Community was a rice paddy. That was before its founder, Gordon Tsai (äïãà–¾), decided the land would be better used for growing other things.

"My goal is to enrich Taiwan's cultural scene," Tsai said. "You always hear Chinese talk about their 5,000 years of history, but I think it's more important to talk about what's going on now and what the future will be about."

He founded Dream Community with his own dream that it would become an international arts and culture exchange center. In the years since, it has hosted artists, musicians and craftsmen from around the world who've come both to imbue Taiwan with their talents take something of the island back home with them.

These artists-in-residence have also helped put together a wide array of festivals, including an Indian Culture Festival this past March and the community's biggest annual festival, the Dream Carnival, held every October. This weekend, the community will host what it hopes will become an annual outdoor music festival, the Circle of Dreams, which has been organized to launch a six-track EP by Dream Community artist-in-residence Andre Nobles.

The money raised at the festival and from the sale of Nobels' CD, Soul Fever, will be used to help another musician or band record their work next year. Dream Community itself is supported through private donations and government subsidies as well as by the profits from a cafe and restaurant located on the community grounds.

- Taipei Times


Soul Fever EP, 2004, André Nobels & the Visionaries
Want the Music (demo) 2003, André Nobels
You & Me (demo) 2002, Nobels Brothers
In the Oven, 1999, The Groove Faze


Feeling a bit camera shy


“My dream was to make a CD; make my music happen” says André Nobels, 27 year old Canadian singer-songwriter. The recent release of “Soul Fever”, André’s second album, at the Circle of Dreams Music Festival in Taiwan is a perfect example of the young artist’s passion for making the dreams of his generation come true.
The release of “Soul Fever” capped off a one year tour of Taiwan for André and his band “The Visionaries”. The new, six-song EP, is representative of the evolution of André’s musical style over the past eight years. A rich musical backdrop replete with unique acoustic guitar stylings and jumpy riffs tugs at your heartstrings and sets the stage for poetic lyrics that have a contemporary philosophical twist. Reviewers have described André’s voice as “incredibly touching” with comparisons from Waits to Buckley. Fans enjoy his relaxed and friendly stage presence and many are calling him “the next big thing” in the folk-rock arena.
André credits his Dad and many of the Folk Rock Greats of the 60’s with his early inspiration. He remembers listening to his father’s renditions of 60’s folk tunes crooned to the twang of an old Gibson acoustic. For the aspiring young singer, his heroes’ ability to use music as a vehicle for creative expression was nothing short of magic! While the would-be folk-rocker struggled to master the intricacies of the guitar, he recalls listening to old Lightning Hopkins records that he found stashed in the basement. He was always astounded by the depth of feeling that these tunes could evoke in him. At first André used poetry as a means to express his subtle and sensitive observations and feelings. It wasn’t until later, when he became a philosophy major at Western University in Ontario, that he finally started to explore the subtle guitar melodies that would turn his award winning verse into popular songs. For André, the musical journey continues to be one of personal discovery. Fortunately for his Fans, the young songster has the gift of the” common touch”. André’s catchy tunes open hearts to lyrics that make us laugh at our foibles and his universal themes have a cross-generational appeal.
After he completed his degree in Philosophy, André and his first band,” The Groove Faze”, parted company following the release of their CD “In the Oven”. In search of a dream, the young singer packed up his guitar and headed out West to what he lightly refers to as “Mom’s finishing school”. On the West Coast André found a deep vision and purpose rooted in the community and a land based spirituality he encountered there. In British Columbia André continued to write music while meeting a growing demand for solo acoustic performances. Early in 2003 a television contract drew Andre to Taipei where he connected with “The Visionaries”. In this collaboration Andre not only found his voice but he found a way to share his dream of “inspiring others and sharing his heart through music.” For the release of “Soul Fever”, André created the unique “Circle of Dreams” music festival and fund, to help promote and support original music in the region. The CD and festival were funded by a special community dedicated to making dreams come true, aptly named the Dream Community. André and “The Visionaries” donated proceeds from the sale of the first 2000 CD’s to help sponsor another artist’s CD next year. The fund’s purpose is to make at least one musician’s dream come true, every year.
“Soul Fever” received rave reviews in the Taiwan media and sold 1500 CD’s in the first 2 weeks of release alone!