Last Saturday I went to Smile Taiwan (微笑台灣), a free outdoor concert. This year’s line-up featured Wonfu Jr (小旺福) one of my favorite bands, Pau-dull (陳建年, also known as Chen Jian-nian), Yan Yung-neng (嚴詠能) and Takaorun (打狗亂歌團) and Beautiful Haiyan (美麗心民謠). It was amazing and I found some new favorites for my music collection. For more information, read my review in today’s Taipei Times.
Pau-dull, who opened the show, is known for mixing influences from his Puyuma Aboriginal background and American folk music. One of his biggest hits is Ho-Hai-Yan (海洋); when he announced that he was playing it as the last song of his set, a big cheer went up from the crowd.
The people who left missed out on two fantastic performances. Yan Yung-neng and Takaorun won last year’s Golden Melody Award for Best Taiwanese-Language Album. Most of their tracks are written in Hoklo and are rousing calls for cultural pride. I can’t understand Hoklo, but I love the way it sounds when sung.
Beautiful Haiyan‘s members represent several different Aboriginal tribes (Amis, Puyuma and Rukai). Their songs incorporate traditional melodies and Aboriginal language lyrics. I bought one of their 2006 self-titled release. The packaging is fantastic, with all explanatory notes and lyrics are translated into English. I also downloaded Song of the Shepherd Boy (牧童之歌) off iTunes. It features yodeling! I love yodeling. This YouTube video was shot at a performance last year:
As a bonus, here is Singaporean singer Sakura’s (櫻花) 1960 recording of the song: