Sat, Feb 27, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Premier to support documentary on late crooner Hung

NATIONAL TREASURE One commentator said Hung Yi-feng created a unique blend or hybrid style reflecting Taiwanese history’s complexity

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) promised on Thursday to help with the production of a documentary on Hung Yi-feng (洪一峰), better known as “the king of Formosan song,” who died of pancreatic cancer at Taipei Medical University Hospital, on Wednesday at the age of 82.

Hung, who was blessed with a deep, resonant voice and was a prolific songwriter, is familiar to middle-aged and elderly Taiwanese-language music fans.

Old numbers such as Memories of an Old Love (舊情綿綿) and The One I’m Missing (思慕的人) are still very popular among KTV patrons.

Chiu Kun-liang (邱坤良), a professor at National Taipei University of the Arts who grew up listening to Hung’s songs, said he awakened the Taiwanese identity of many people.

NATIONAL TREASURE

“He was unfortunate to have been born in Taiwan ... If he had lived in another country, he would have long been recognized as a national treasure,” Chiu said.

Chuang Yung-ming (莊永明), a researcher of Taiwanese history, said Hung’s contribution to Taiwanese-language songs lay in his inheritance of the independent creative spirit of the Taiwanese during the period of Japanese colonial rule (1895-1945).

“A group of talented Taiwanese artists composed many lyrical Taiwanese-language songs between 1932 and 1940. However, their development came to an abrupt halt after Japan launched a campaign to turn ‘Taiwanese into loyal subjects of the Japanese emperor,’” Chuang said.

ENKA

Hung successfully incorporated the Oriental five-note scale musical style popular in the 1930s into his compositions and also made use of features of Japanese enka and jazz music that made their way to Taiwan in the 1950s, Chuang said.

“As a result, he created a unique blend or hybrid style that reflects the complexity of Taiwanese history,” he said.

Hung was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer on Dec. 7, his family said. He was hospitalized on Dec. 26 after he fell into a coma following a bout of pneumonia and was transferred to a hospice ward on Feb. 11.

A memorial service will be held for him on March 13.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY STAFF WRITER

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