New album spotlights emerging indigenous music talent in Taiwan

Pasiwali 2018, an album comprising 10 tracks by emerging aboriginal musicians in Taiwan, was released Jan. 28 by the Cabinet-level Council of Indigenous Peoples, underscoring government efforts to cultivate new artistic talent.

The record is a product of the CIP-organized Taiwan Pasiwali program launched last year that offered three-month recording, songwriting or stage engineering training sessions to musicians from the nation's 16 officially recognized indigenous tribes. Pasiwali, meaning towards the east in indigenous Amis language, highlights the initiative's aim of spotlighting music from eastern Taiwan, which is home to numerous aboriginal communities, the CIP said.

Ten of the 15 students in the songwriting group, representing different tribes including Atayal, Rukai and Seediq, were chosen to submit their songs for the collection and a competition. During the program, the trainees were guided by five professional artists, including acclaimed singer-songwriter Aljenljeng Tjatjaljuvy from the Paiwan tribe.

Amis musician Mayaw Laway won the first prize of NT$50,000 (US$1,622) in the competition for Widangi, a song about friends making fun of each other. Lowking from the Truku tribe claimed the creativity award of NT$30,000 for Mita Ku Spah, a track that dwells on the feelings of joy that arise when on the way home.

Widangi is his first Amis-language song, Laway said, adding it encapsulates his tribe's unique sense of humor. Only true friends make these kinds of jokes to show how close their relationship is.

According to Laway, he was inspired to join the program because he wanted to write in his mother tongue. During the three-month course, his mentor, Amis musician Chalaw Pasiwali, taught him it was possible to blend his tribe's music with other styles and to keep an open mind during the creative process, he added.

Featuring a diverse range of tracks influenced by musical genres such as R&B, hip-hop and rock, the album is available in stores across Taiwan, as well as via online streaming platforms including Apple Music, KKBOX and Spotify, the CIP said.

Source: Taiwan Today