Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 13 News List

Taitung rocks out the old year

Outdoor New Year's parties will feature Sticky Rice, the Betelnut Brothers, Aboriginal song and dance and a bonfire beach party at 5am

By David Momphard  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sticky Rice are booked for the Taipei Times-sponsored New Year's Eve party in Taitung.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

If you're still looking for a special way to see out 2004 and welcome the new year, it's not too late to hop on a plane or train to Taitung for a combination of giant outdoor New Year's Eve and New Year's Day parties featuring Sticky Rice, the Betelnut Brothers and a host of celebrities, followed by a powwow on Taitung' s Taimali Beach to greet the first light of 2005.

Taitung City Government's Tourism Bureau will host the first of these events, the New Year's Eve party, in the courtyard square of the National Museum of Prehistory (國立台灣史前文化博物館), a fitting location for an event centered around Taiwan's Aboriginal community.

The Museum of Pre-History is near the Taitung City airport and got its unofficial start in 1980, when construction workers stumbled upon a 100-acre burial ground that dated back about 5,000 years and contained hundreds of stone coffins. The site is the largest known pre-historic burial ground on the Pacific Rim and was an instant obsession with archeologists around the world.

Taiwan's government protected the area from further development and established a museum dedicated to the study of Taiwan's pre-historic Aboriginal cultures.

Today the museum enjoys a steady stream of school kids and scholars. But this weekend, many of the nation's Aboriginal tribes will join together to see in the new year with traditional songs and dances, as well as pop songs from a few celebrities.

The festivities begin at 7pm tonight in the museum's square with Kimbo Hu (胡德夫), one of the nation's high-profile Aboriginal songsters and human rights activist. The AM Band (AM樂團) will follow.

The AM Band, or A-Minor as they're sometimes known, is a group of several members from Taiwan's Aboriginal tribes who got their start performing in Taipei pubs. Seven years later, in 2000, their debut album on Taiwan Colors Music, A-minor: Until the Sunrise (Am 到天亮), earned a Golden Melody award for lead singer Samingad (紀曉君).

Following the AM Band, other artists will perform, including Chen Yung-lung (陳永龍), Hu Hao-en (吳昊恩), Cheng Chieh-jen (鄭捷任), the Malan Chanters (馬蘭吟唱隊), and the Betelnut Brothers (檳榔兄弟).

The core members of the Betelnut Brothers, Huegu and Docdoc, are cousins, and their blend of Aboriginal rhythms and a grassroots blues sound have scored them cross-over success in Taiwan's pop charts -- all the better for them to lead into the second half of the evening.

Around 9pm -- after a few minutes of wise words from museum scholars and the county's elected officials -- several pop acts will take the stage. The most popular of the pop acts is the perennial favorite, Sticky Rice (糯米團). They'll be followed by Chiang Mei-qi (江美琪), Wu Si-kai (伍思凱), Huang Xiao-hu (黃小琥), Luo Mei-ling (羅美玲) and others, who will perform up to the midnight countdown.

Afterwards, a dance party will take place until 3am or "Maybe later. We'll see," said an organizer with the tourism bureau.

The idea, she said, is for everyone to get some rest before meeting up again at

5:30am on Taitung's Taimali Beach for bonfire festivities and singing at sunrise. The performances then, the organizer warned, will be put on by the public.

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