Mon, Mar 04, 2013 - Page 12 News List

Voice of the island

Born and raised in a Pinuyumayan community in Taitung, Sangpuy brings the music of his tribe to a wider audience with his finely crafted debut album

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

“We bring the ancestors’ music to the cities. They are not just songs, but a powerful force especially to the Aborigines who have left their villages,” he said.


Sangpuy said that in Katatipul, 20 years after the tribe’s cultural revitalization began, the younger generation has become more interested and involved in tribal traditions and affairs. Many have taken an active role in recent Aboriginal protests against land seizures and flawed development plans such as the proposed transfer of the public cemetery in Katatipul.

According to the former youth leader, Palakuwan has also played a vital part in the Aboriginal land rights movement in recent years.

“Village elders teach us that we should be like bees, tough and united, not scattered like flies after feeding on rotten meat,” Sangpuy said.

“We are a nation. When we feel threatened, we use our own way to protect our people. The young men always stand on the frontline. We never back down as long as we have the support from our elders.”

Back in Taipei, celebrated choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava, who hails from the Paiwan village of Jialan (嘉蘭) in Taitung, has only known Sangpuy and his music for a few months, yet has already become an enthusiastic fan. The choreographer said he was deeply moved when first hearing the Song of the Wind because every Aborigine remembers that when they were little, their grandmothers would always say the wind would come if they whistle during the hot summer days.

“His music is our nostalgia,” Bulareyaung said. “I left my tribe when I was 15, not knowing anything about Paiwan culture and history. Now I am 40. I want to go home, and I thank Sangpuy’s music for giving me the strength to do just that.”

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