Sun, Jun 11, 2006 - Page 17 News List

Taike acts save the day

Alternative musicians went into this year's Golden Melody Awards with high hopes, but the mainstream still dominated the top Mando-pop categories

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

There were high expectations for altnative music at last night's Golden Melody Awards, but with Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) walking away with Best Male Mandarin Singer and Best Mandarin Album going to The Great Leap Forward 2005 (太平盛世), the mainstream triumphed. Tanya Tsai (蔡健雅) picked up the Best Female Mandarin Singer.

In a drawn out ceremony last night, Taiwan's music industry gave out awards for its high achievers in the 17th Golden Melody Awards (十七屆金曲獎), which took place at Taipei Arena, Taipei (台北巨蛋). Thousands of fans crowded outside the stadium to get a sight of their favorite stars.

On the red carpet, Little S (小S) and Momoko Tao (陶子), the hosts for the night, enlivened proceedings by spraying "milk" from their breasts into the crowd. This little performance follows months of media reports about the birth of their baby girls and whether they would be back in shape for this glamorous event. Little S looked fine, but Tao clearly still has some way to go before achieving her previous slim shape.

This rather gross display was followed in the award ceremony by some poorly rehearsed performances by Stefanie Sun and Hong Kong pop star Eason Chan (陳奕迅), who constantly forgot their lyrics and sang off-key in what could possibly be their worst performances to date.

Taike promoters Chang Chen-yue (張震嶽) and MC Hotdog saved the night with their act that got lots of nominees dancing on their feet.

Some familiar faces were missing from the nomination list, and last night's event featured an unusually large number of stars drawn from Taiwan's alt-music scene. While folk and folk-rock have always had a presence at the Golden Melody Awards, their prominence this year has been underlined by the inclusion of Puyuma folksinger and activist Kimbo, also known as Hu De-fu (胡德夫), in six categories.

This year, awards were presented in 31 categories, with nominees selected by a 33-member panel of judges from a staggering 6,884 entries.

Kimbo had picked up the award for Best Lyricist and Best Song, which many people thought was long-overdue recognition of his contribution to music in Taiwan.

Kimbo's first album In a Flash, a retrospective record looking back at the legendary Aboriginal crooner's 30-year musical career from 1972 to 2001, was a talking point in the run up to the event. He is best known for his vocal prowess and his poetic folk music full of social

commentaries. Kimbo has also been an activist in Taiwan's social, political and Aboriginal movements and was blacklisted by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government in the late 1970s and early 1980s for his outspoken dissident voice.

Another veteran of the music scene Lin Jia-qing (林家慶), with a 40-year career in Taiwan's music scene, received a lifetime achievement award. As a member of the Kupa (鼓霸大樂團) big band and the conductor and director of Chinese Television Company's (中視, CTV) orchestra, his work has spanned popular and classical music, and he has achieved much in promoting music education, producing many TV programs on world music, Taiwan folk and children's songs.

As many expected, Wu Bai (伍佰) walked away with the Best Taiwanese Male Singer award. It was one of the most hotly contested categories, with seven nominees, but really there was little tension prior to the names being read out.

Penny Tai (戴佩妮) took one of the first pop musical awards for best composer for Crazy Love. Speaking backstage after receiving the honor, Tai said she was shocked by the totally unexpected recognition. "I am a self-taught composer who has little talent in song-writing, and I never thought that my songs would get spread outside my room. Crazy Love is a very personal song, and at first I didn't even want to have it released," the misty-eyed songstress said in a humble tone.

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