Years ago I heard this anecdote: “When A-mei (aka Chang Hui-mei, 張惠妹) went to listen to Samingad (紀曉君) sing, she ended up crying.”
The image of the legendary diva making Taiwan’s reigning queen of pop weep is an apt one.
Samingad’s Aboriginal name means “unique.” She is the cousin of Golden Melody Award-winning crooner Pau-dull (陳建年) and won the Golden Melody
Best Newcomer Award in 2000 for her debut album.
The Aboriginal songstress performs every Thursday night at Taipei’s EZ5 Live House beginning at 10:45pm.
The chanteuse has released two albums (in 1999 and 2001) of Aboriginal folk tunes. Her voice is so full of emotion that A-mei is not the only audience member to shed a tear while listening to her songs.
“Russell Watson cried when he heard me singing his song at his hotel earlier this year,” Samingad told the Taipei Times in an interview on Wednesday.
Part Bunun (布農) and part Puyuma (卑南), Samingad was taught to sing when she was young by her grandmother. She was discovered by a producer when she sang in a pub aged 17.
“Singing is like breathing for us. We sing while we work, while washing laundry and chatting,” she said. “Aboriginal folk tunes are part of our life. Singing Mandarin simply doesn’t mean the same to me.”
Samingad says she inherited a sense of the spiritual from her family and often sees supernatural signs.
“When a light bulb flickers or candles burst into flame, I know something has happened to my close relatives,” she said.
After a 10-year hiatus, she plans to break some new ground this year by releasing an as yet untitled electronica album. Samingad’s new album includes a new song, Son of the Dragon (龍之子), composed by herself.
What: Samingad (紀曉君)
When: 10:45pm every Thursday night
Where: EZ5 Live House, 211, Anhe Rd Sec 2, Taipei City (台北市安和路二段211號)
Admission: Tickets are NT$700, available by calling (02) 2738-3995 or online at www.ez5.com.tw
On The Net: blog.yam.com/samingad0314
“By bringing Aboriginal folk tunes and electronica together, I want to make Aboriginal music accessible and relevant to today’s audiences,” she said.
Her smoky, emotionally charged voice is complemented by her wisecracking, self-effacing demeanor.
The folk songstress was once married to a professional baseball player, but is now happily to be single.
“I think a relationship should broaden your life rather than narrow it. I’m happy to meet new friends,” she said. “Besides, I can sing romantic love songs now that I am single again.”